Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide

How to Grow Gladiolas - Background Information on this Plant

Gladiolus is one of the many name variations for one of the most popular flowers in the world, gladiolas.

The gladiola is a form of iris in the family Iridaceae. Although not lilies, gladiolas are closely related. Long sword-like leaves give the gladiola its name, which comes from the Latin word gladius and means long sword. Its relationship to lilies probably encouraged the nickname “Sword Lily”.

However, happy gardeners who know how to grow gladiolas fondly call their easy-growing flowers, “glads”.

Glads have as many variations in color and flower texture as they do in name. Gardeners typically grow them as cut flower or their striking addition to cut flower bouquets, but the glad also adds vertical impact and robust color to the outdoor garden.Gladiolas

Thats why Gladiolas do well in poor Soil

Sometimes sold in packs of “bulbs”, glads actually grow from underground corms, which are storage containers for nutrients.

Because glad corms are efficient storage receptacles, gladiolas grow in less than ideal soil. However, sun-loving glads do need a mix with good drainage. Like all “bulb” flowers, glad corms should be planted at a depth of at least twice their size.

Generally, this means four to six inches deep, although smaller corms may need shallower planting. However, plant your glads too shallow and it’s difficult to grow the straight flower sheaths that make gladiolas famous. Plant corms pointed end up and scarred end down.

Proper cultivation is a big part of knowing how to grow this flower successfully. Glads don’t compete well with weeds, but need shallow cultivation so that roots and corms aren’t damaged. A good way to keep your glad garden weed free is to provide a light layer of mulch around your gladiolus.

If you’re want to be a succesful gladiolas grower, you’ll have lovely long flower stalks in 60 to 100 days. You can cut glads as soon as the lowest florets on a stem begin to show color, Remove the flower spikes with an angled cut, using a sharp knife. Be sure to leave at least four leaves on the growing stem to allow the corms to continue development. Immediately put the stems in water and keep them in a cool, dark area for a few hours before handling. After arranging, unopened florets will continue to “bloom” until the whole stem has opened. You can extend the life of your gladiola bouquet by giving the stems a fresh cut and changing their water daily.

Gladiolas are a hardy perennial in zones 7 to 10. Outside of winter hardy areas, lift glad corms and over winter them for replanting in the spring. Dig corms six to eight weeks after the glads have bloomed. Foliage will be yellowed and dying back. If it’s still green, let it continue to grow until the first frost to let corms continue storing food. Air dry corms for a week or two on trays and then store at 35F to 45F either on trays or in hanging mesh bags (old nylons work well).