When to Plant Gladiolus – Planting Guide 2021

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when to plant gladiolus

There are many different types of gardens and one that brings multiple aspects of joy is the cut flower garden.

Being able to simply go into your backyard and snip off wonderful, brightly colored flowers for an arrangement is a joy like no other.

Gladiolus flowers are a perfect addition for this purpose, so find out when to plant them so they’ll be ready for your next bouquet.

Plant a bold, show-stopper of a flower with the gladiolus. Tall and towering over many other plants, this flower looks beautiful in a garden or in a bouquet. It can be left to stand watch over your other plants or brought inside to liven up any room.

When to plant gladiolus? Plant your gladiolus corms, which are similar to bulbs, in the spring, after the threat of frost is gone. They like full sun and well-drained soil, although need proper watering as the temperature increases.

Once planted, you will have gorgeous flowers ready in 60 to 90 days. Then, you can grab your scissors and make a lovely arrangement.

Just remember to plant enough so you can share your garden creation with others.

Planting Gladiolus in Different Climates

planting gladiolus

Tropical Climate

The warmth of a tropical climate is nice for gladiolus. You will probably have to dig up their corms as they will need a period of hibernation before being planted again.

Dry Climate

It is too dry and hot for gladiolus flowers in a dry climate.

Temperate Climate

With a temperate climate, gladiolus flowers will grow nicely. And, if you live in a warmer area, you won’t have to remove the corms in the fall.

Continental Climate

Gladiolus flowers do well in the warmth of a continental climate but their corms will have to be removed before the cold winters set in.

Polar Climate

It is too cold in a polar climate for gladiolus flowers.

Choosing Gladiolus Bulbs

There are many types of gladiolus bulbs to choose from, so really, it’s all about personal choice. Start by thinking about your favorite colors and if you want small or larger blossoms.

If you want a classic, clean white color, try Prins Claus that has a pop of pink, or if you want a bold purple color, try Black Star.

How to Plant Gladiolus Bulbs  

how to plant gladiolus bulb

Gladiolus flowers come in the form of bulbs, not seeds. And actually, these bulbs are referred to as corms, as they are actually swollen roots, although if you mix up the terminology you won’t be alone.

Furthermore, unlike other bulbs that are traditionally planted in the fall, gladiolus corms should be planted in the spring. This is because they won’t be ready to bloom until the summer and fall.

All danger of frost should be passed and your soil should be above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. You can choose to plant all your corms at once, or you can space them out and plant ever week so that you’ve have a continuous supply of gladiolus flowers.

Gladiolus love full sun, so make sure your patch includes this feature. Think about how shady the trees will grow in, as gladiolus don’t bloom until the summer.

If you happen to grow your gladiolus in partial shade, they will still grow but your flowers won’t be as large or bright.

The soil should be well-drained and fertile. Soggy soil will lead to root rot and if it is too compacted, the roots won’t be able to space out.

If you’re worried about your soil, you can always till it so that the top foot is nicely aerated. You can also add compost to the soil and mix it around for more nutrients.

Once you have your garden prepared, it’s time for planting. First, make sure that your gladiolus corms are large enough; they should be at least 1-inch in diameter. Then, dig a hole for each corm so that it is about 4 inches deep.

Place one gladiolus corm in a hole, making sure that the pointed end is facing up towards the sky. Then, cover the hole with soil, patting it down firmly.

Unlike other bulb flowers, in which you can plant them around your garden, many people plant gladiolus to be able to cut them. Therefore, if you plant them in rows, it makes this task easier.

Gladiolus should be planted about 6 to 8 inches apart to give them enough room to grow in and bloom. Furthermore, try to plant 5 to 7 corms together as this will make a more striking effect.

How to Water Gladiolus

You want your soil to be moist but not overly saturated, so aim to water them regularly over the summer. If it rains you can take a day off, but if not, you will have to water them every day.

How to Grow Gladiolus

how to grow gladiolus

After you have planted your gladiolus, it’s time to take care of them. A 2-inch layer of mulch will prevent weeds from growing while also keeping your soil moist but not too damp.

Once your gladiolus start blooming you can begin cutting the flowers. If there are dead flowers, or even faded ones left behind, remove then and the plant will grow new flowers in their place.

After the blooming season is done, you will need to perform a bit of preparation in order to have flowers the following year. Cut down the flower stocks but leave them around 3 inches high. This allows nutrients to be stored in the corms so that next year’s flower production can begin.

If you live in a warmer climate, such as Hardiness Zone 8 or more, you can actually leave your gladiolus corms in the ground. Just add a bit of protection like a layer of straw over the soil.

Fore those that live in colder climates, you will have to remove the corms and store them for the next year. Be sure to dig them up after a light frost but before it becomes too cold.

While the corms can withstand a bit of cold, if they are exposed to a hard freeze, they will become too damaged.

How to cut gladiolus?

One of the main reasons people grow gladiolus flowers is to have them readily available for bouquets. There are a few tips to produce the most striking arrangements that will last for a while.

While you may be tempted to cut your flowers any time of the day, the best time is actually in the morning or at night. Cutting them during the day means they won’t have enough water in them, and therefore won’t last as long.

Another helpful tip is to cut your flowers before all of the buds have opened. Select stalks that have one or two buds that are open as the rest will open after you cut them.

Use a sharp knife or scissors and cut diagonally along the stalk to allow more water to enter the stem. Be sure to leave some leaves on the stalk, at least four, in order to be able to reuse the gladiolus corm next year.

Before you start your arrangement, place the gladiolus in a bucket with water and store it in a cool place.

After you have arranged your flowers, you can cut an inch off the bottom of the stalks every few days to keep them fresh.

How to store gladiolus bulbs?

Anyone who lives in a colder region needs to remove their gladiolus corms before a heavy frost sets in the fall, or else they won’t survive the winter.

Dig up the entire gladiolus plant and shake out excess dirt from the roots. Make sure the stalks of the flowers are only 1 inch above the corm. Keep larger corms, or if you have patience, you can also keep smaller ones, although it can take a few years before they produce flowers.

Lay the corms and roots on a tray in a warm, well-circulated area for 2 weeks. Then, place a light dusting of a fungicide over them before storing in a paper bag.

Keep the corms in a cool, low humidity place, such as a garage or basement over winter and bring them out in mid to late spring when you are ready to plant them again.

How long does it take to grow gladiolus?

There are many different types of gladiolus, so the growing time can really differ. Expect flowers to blossom between 60 and 90 days of planting the corms, starting from early summer to early fall.  

You may want to select different types of gladiolus so that they are ready at different times, or space out your planting of them so that you have flowers ready for an entire month.

What is the best month to plant gladiolus?

The best time to plant your gladiolus corms is mid to late spring, so aim for April or May. The soil needs to be warm enough and your local frost dates should be passed.

Conclusion

Gladiolus flowers make a wonderful addition to any flower bed and their bright, colorful blooms make them a showstopper in a bouquet. Plant the bulb-like corms in the spring so that in summer your garden is awash in color.

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