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Growing Great Gladiolus

Updated on March 12, 2021
Bob Ewing profile image

Glads are one of my favourite flowers. My parents grew them for years. My ebook, From My Garden, is widely available.

Gorgeous Glads

You can spot a gladiolus or glad as they are affectionately called from some distance away. These natives of South Africa are known for their spear shaped leaves and their brilliant flowers. Glads look fantastic in flower arrangements or growing in a group on your front lawn.

Gladioli are easy to grow and appear in a variety of colours, including; white, pink, red, purple, yellow, orange, salmon, and even green gladioli. There are also bi-colour glads.


The gladiolus is grown from a corm which looks like a bulb. Glads are not winter hardy in most parts of Canada and in many states.

If you want to save them for the following season, you can either dig them up in early fall and store them until late may when it is warm enough to return them to the outside. The corms are relatively inexpensive and can be replaced each year if you do not or cannot store them.

I treat my glads as an annual and buy new corms in the spring. This way I can change the look of the garden with a minimum of effort.

Glads make great cutflowers and if that is your main reason for growing them, and you have 10 or more plants, you may want to plant them in rows.

This way is simple to set out the growing area, stake the plants and harvest them.

Gladiolus add colour, texture and shape to your garden bed, I suggest you plant them in group so five or more for the maximum effect.

Full sunlight is a must, and even though the corm may grow and bloom is some shade you will get the maximum return when the plant gets full sun.

Full sun also means that the glad will have the opportunity to store more sunlight and this will enhance the following year’s bloom, if you plant to keep them.

The soil needs to be well-drained soil and if this is not possible in your location then you may want to consider raised beds or containers. I have grown glads very successfully on my balcony in containers.

Be sure to loosen the soil to a depth of ten or 12 inches, regardless of your planting choice.

If you want new blooms through the summer months, you can begin planting after the long weekend in May and continue to do so until the middle of June

For the best success, select corms that are relatively tall and plump, and shaped somewhat like a chocolate kiss.

Be sure that the pointed side is up, or you will be very disappointed.

Corms should be planted six to eight inches apart and four to five inches deep, depending upon the size of the corm.

Glads need to be staked and the best time to put the stake in is when you plant the corm. Be sure to label the stake so you know what will come up.

Gladiolus is a must for any annual or cutflower garden. Grow enough so that you can pick them for indoor floral arrangements and still have plenty to enjoy when you are outside.

A gladiolus circle planted just off centre in your front lawn is a great way to add value to your yard and enhance its curb appeal.

Selecting Glads


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