Growing Gladiolus

Gladiolus also known as sword lilies are easy to grow, inexpensive and come in wide range of vivid colors. They are a striking addition to borders and flower beds and make great cut flowers for dramatic arrangements.  gladiolus

How to grow gladiolus

For best bloom plant them in full sun
Gladiolus prefer well-drained, sandy soil, rich in organic material with a ph 6.7-7. Plant gladiolus corms  3 times as deep as they are tall about 4 inches deep and 6-8 inches apart. Taller varieties can be planted deeper for added support. Plant in rows, group or masses.  At time of planting add a 5-10-5 fertilizer into the soil for continued bloom.

Best time to plant
In cooler climates plant when all danger of frost is over. You can start a few weeks earlier.  Start in early May when soil is workable and then every 2 weeks for continued bloom throughout the summer. Depending on the variety and cultivar, gladiolus bloom 60-120 days from time of planting.


Make sure they get at least 1 inch of water during a dry spell and add 2″ mulch around the plant to help retain soil moisture.

Where to plant
Since glads come in varied sizes, taller varieties which can get up to 4 ft tall  should be planted against a fence or wall/ house for support. They may also require staking to keep them from falling over.

Cut flowers
Short or tall gladiolus make great cut flowers. Cut the flower stem when the lower 2-3 florets begin to show color. Use a sharp knife and cut the stem on an angle leaving at least 2-4 leaves. Place the stems vertically in water. They can last up to 2 weeks.
Gladilous can be used as vertical accent in large arrangements. A composite of individual florets are used to make a “glamelia” a  bouquet that resembles a large camelia.

Winter care
In colder regions, the corms should be lifted after frost blackens the foliage.
In milder climates zone 7 and up, glads can be left in the ground year round.

More info on winter care: