The beautiful gladiolus plant is a classic perennial bloom best known for its tall spikes of flowers boasting large, colourful blooms. They make for excellent cutting flowers and add a spectacular boost of colour to any bouquet.
Gladiolus flowers are available in a massive selection of bold colours and the plants typically range between two and five feet in height. The flowers range in size from what is classified as ‘miniature’, which typically measures in at three inches in diameter to ‘giant’, which can measure up to five inches across.
Got a green thumb or just keen to try your hand at growing your own gladiolus? Follow our guide for a step-by-step how to:
The best time to plant gladiolus is in Spring, once the frost has passed and the soil has warmed up a bit.
One thing to consider doing is planting a new round of corms every 10 days from the last date of frost to the early summer. This will ensure you get to enjoy continuous blooms right until the early months of Autumn.
In general, but dependent on the variety of the gladiolus, it can take anywhere between 60 and 90 days from the time the corm is planted for it to root, grow and bloom.
When considering a planting site for your gladiolus, make sure that it has full sun, as the plant will thrive best in strong sunlight. These plants like well-drained, moderately fertile soil. They will not do well in heavier, soggier soils.
Get your garden ready for gladiolus plans by using a garden fork to loosen the soil between 12 and 15 inches deep. Once the soil is loosened, mix in a two- to four-inch layer of aged manure or compost to create the best, most welcoming ground for your gladiolus to thrive in.
Here Are A Few Tips On How To Plant Your Gladiolus:
- To grow larger blooms, ensure you plant corms that are at least 1¼ or larger in diameter.
- Set your corms about four inches deep into the soil, with the pointed end facing up.
- Make sure that your corms are six to eight inches apart.
- If you’re growing gladiolus plants mainly for cut flowers, plant them in rows. This will make it easier for you to tend to the plants and harvest the flowers.
- If you plant gladiolus with other flowers in borders, be sure to plant your corms in groups of no less than seven for best results.
- Water your gladiolus thoroughly when you plant them.
Growing Gladiolus Plants
Gladiolus plants require relatively low maintenance, so they’re great for beginners too.
To see them grow, make sure you keep your soil moist and prevent weeds. This can be done by layering two to four inches of mulch around your plants. If your garden gets under one inch of rain every week, make sure you water your gladiolus regularly, especially in summer.
Keep a close eye on your gladiolus plants. As soon as you see any dead or faded flowers, remove them immediately to ensure you’re able to enjoy continuous blooms. Once all of the flowers on a stalk have gone, cut the stalk off at approximately two to three inches above the soil.
Ensure that you leave your gladiolus plant intact so that it’s able to mature and grow new corms for the next season.
Caring For Gladiolus Plants
Gladioli require very little maintenance but make sure they are protected from the harsh elements of winter to continue flourishing.
One way to do this is by putting down a layer of hay or straw around your plants. Gladioli growing in warmer regions can remain in the ground if there isn’t typically a hard freeze in your area.
If you live in a colder region, dig the gladiolus corms up once the foliage has faded after the first Autumn frost. A light frost is likely to kill the foliage but not the rest of the plant. Dig up the gladiolus corms before a hard freeze sets in to prevent fatal damage to the plant.
Like most other plants, the gladiolus plant is susceptible to certain diseases, including:
- Corm rot
- Grey mould
- Spider mites
- Aster yellows
Harvesting Gladiolus Blossoms
When harvesting your gladiolus blossoms, nothing could be simpler!
By following the steps below, your colourful blooms will stay bright and beautiful in their floral arrangements.
- Cut your flower stalks early in the morning or at night to avoid the heat of the day.
- Use a sharp knife to cut your stalks and make sure you bring a bucket of lukewarm water to the flower bed.
- Don’t be afraid of cutting stalks that have just one or two open flowers on them. The other buds will continue to open even after they’ve been placed in a vase.
- When you cut the stalks, do so at a diagonal angle and place them in the bucket.
- If you wish to use the corms again, make sure you leave at least four leaves on the plant in the ground.
- Place the bucket with the flowers in a cool, dark space for a few hours before you arrange them on display in a vase.
- Remove the lower fading flowers and trim about one inch from the bottom of each stalk every few days.
Gladiolus plants truly make for an excellent addition to any garden and eventually, any bouquet or vase of flowers on display in your home. They come in a variety of deep, bright colours including pinks (typically of the ‘Candyman’ variety of the plant), oranges and yellows (from the ‘Dream’s End’ variety) and purple (from the ‘Black Star’ variety).
These plants are easy to care for they add a sense of vibrancy to any garden. They make wonderful thank you gifts, are gorgeous in any bouquet and simply look good in the ground too!
Landscapers typically make use of the gladiolus plants for borders due to their reliability and wide array of hues in their blossoms, but you can plant them wherever your heart desires!