Gladiolus, a flower to rediscover


Gladiolus is among the most beautiful bulb flowers of all.

General Gladiolus facts

Type – bulb plant

Height – 20 to 40 inches (50 to 100 cm)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary

Flowering – July to September

Planting and caring for gladiolus from spring to winter means to perform several small steps along its life cycle that will increase its blooming. In summer, we admire the magnificent flowers, and in winter we care for the roots and keep them from freezing…

Planting gladiolus

Gladiolus is planted in spring and until the beginning of summer to a depth of 4 inches (10 cm) with a spacing of about 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) between bulbs.

Planting and care for gladiolusFor beautiful blooming, choose a mostly sunny spot and rather light soil.

If you plant your gladiolus in spots that have different levels of shade, the blooming will be in stages. Those with the heaviest shade will bloom last.

Well drained soil is a mandatory criteria when planting gladiolus.

Caring for gladiolus

How to cut a gladiolus flowerThis flower bulb prefers warm places, or else it won’t bloom.

  • Choose a space in full sun.
  • Water only in case of prolonged dry spells or heat waves.
  • Remove wilted flowers regularly (deadheading).

Its flowers are particularly alluring, which makes it the star of cut flower bouquets.

Gladiolus are also very beautiful flower bed or edge plants when grouped in small clusters.

You can also grow them in rows, to produce cut flowers destined to adorn bouquets.

How to cut a gladiolus flower

Gladiolus bouquetTo use gladiolus in bouquets, you can cut the flower-bearing stems, but you must leave some of the green leaves on the stem to keep nourishing the bulb.

If the stem is cut too low, the gladiolus might not flower again in the following year.

  • During the cutting, since you’re already busy with the plant, add fertilizer so that the bulb may thicken and increase the following year’s blooming.
  • Wait for the leaves to be completely wilted before cutting them off or pulling out the bulbs.

Enhance the blooming of gladiolus

Regular watering and adding flower fertilizer will induce spectacular and abundant flowering.

  • Best add fertilizer in spring.
  • Prefer bulb flower fertilizer.
  • In summer, during heat waves or prolonged dry spells, water in the evening without wetting the leaves.
  • Remove each flower when it has wilted in order to boost flower-bearing.

Gladiolus bulbs in winter

Gladiolus bulbs in winterWhen gladiolus leaves have turned yellow but no earlier than that, cut the leaves to a stub. Indeed, the yellowing of leaves shows the transfer of nutrients from leaf to bulb, preparing stocks for the following blooming season.

In fall, pull out the bulbs, clean them and dry them with a brush, store them in a cool, dark spot over the winter, ready for replanting in the following spring.

If your climate permits and that the weather stays mild, you can leave them in the ground all winter long. But only do this if it doesn’t freeze in your area.

Smart tip about gladiolus

When preparing a bouquet, remove the top buds at the top, because they won’t open and bloom.

Landscape with a field of gladiolus

Gladiolus on social media

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Picture related to Gladiolus overlaid with the Instagram logo. Picture related to Gladiolus overlaid with the Pinterest logo.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Tongue of fire by Barbara Eckstein under © CC BY 2.0
In a garden bed by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Red (also on social media) by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Bouquet of three by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Bulbs by Светлана Гурьева under Pixabay license
Fields of gladiolus by Anita Ritenour under © CC BY 2.0
Pink gladiolus by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work