How to Grow Gladioli

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gladiola header


Undeniably one of the summer’s most outstanding plants, gladiolus - sometimes called the sword lily for its sensational sword-like leaves - has tall sword-like leaves coated with big, beautiful flowers. More commonly known as glads, they come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, so finding the fit that is just right for you is simple.


How to Plant Glads

Glads should be planted in spring two weeks prior to your last expected frost date. Choose a spot in the garden with full sun and well-draining, slightly sandy soil.

To get planting, start by loosening the soil around where you plan to plant. Use a garden spade to loosen the ground about 12” deep, mixing in compost or organic matter as you go to enrich the soil for your plant. Once their bed is prepared, you can begin dropping your corms in.

Set the corms in the soil about 4” deep with the concave side down and spaced 6-10 inches apart, then cover with soil and press firmly. Add a layer of mulch to regulate temperatures and moisture, then finish it all off with a nice, long drink of water to settle in the corms. To enjoy blooms all summer, consider staggering the planting of glads corms, adding more every two weeks throughout spring.


gladiola light pink


How to Care for Glads

As your gorgeous glads grow, there are a few basic growing tips that you’ll want to follow to keep them performing their best all season long:

Water: Glads need an inch of water per week. With regular rainfall, you may only need to water your glads occasionally. However, if you’re experiencing a drier summer than usual, you may need to water more regularly. You’ll know when your plant needs water when the soil is dry about an inch deep.

Staking: While many of our favorite garden blooms are short and stout enough to hold their ground against a strong breeze, some of the taller varieties of glads are not. To prevent drooping or accidental breakage for these taller blooms, simply stake them for some added stability.

Deadheading: We suggest cutting off the dead flowers. Otherwise, the plants may use energy to set seed instead of using that same energy to rejuvenate the bulb for flower production for the next season. Regularly deadhead and consider using the blooms in your summer arrangements - Glads make fantastic cut flowers!


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When the blooms have all faded, feel free to trim them away to avoid expending energy on seeding. However, you’ll want to leave the foliage intact for as long as possible to continue absorbing energy to fuel the corm for next year’s growth.


Glads Winter Care

Once the foliage turns yellow and the weather grows colder, it is time to prepare your glads for winter. In zones 7 and warmer, glads corms can be left in the ground to overwinter, with a thick layer of mulch to insulate them. For zones 6 and colder, though, the corms need to be dug up and stored instead.

To avoid bruising the corms, gently dig around them and lever them out with your garden fork or spade. Shake off any loose soil and place them in a warm, well-ventilated spot out of direct sunlight for  2-3 weeks, then transfer them into paper bags and store in a cool, dry place for the winter.


gladiola pink and purple


When the weather warms and spring returns, you can start the whole planting process again and enjoy another year of gorgeous glads blooms!


With spring right around the corner and the frost soon to disappear, it’s almost time to get those glads in the ground to enjoy their spectacular summer show. Grab yours on our site today! You’ll be “glad” you did! (Yes, we went there!)


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