How to Grow Gladiolus Bulbs


Gladiolus offers one of the more striking summer bulb flowers in the garden. It blooms on stalks in a multitude of colors from apricot to blue and most colors in between. There are early and late bloomers, so a gardener can stagger her planting times and enjoy gladiolus blossoms all summer. To grow gladiolus bulbs, choose an area that receives sun for at least six hours a day and plant your bulbs after the danger of frost has passed.

Step 1

Loosen the soil in the flower bed by using the gardening fork to dig into it and turn it. Remove any rocks or other debris.

Step 2

Pour a 2-inch layer of compost onto the bed and work it in to a depth of 12 inches. Mix it in well with the soil.

Step 3

Dig holes 4 inches deep and 4 inches apart. Lay the bulbs in the holes with the pointed end facing up. Cover the bulbs with soil and tamp the soil with your hands.

Step 4

Install stakes for the taller gladiolus varieties, such as grandiflora. Use the mallet to pound the stake into the soil, 3 inches from the corm.

Step 5

Water the flower bed after planting. Don't water again unless the weather is dry, and the bulbs receive less than 1 inch of rain per week.

Step 6

Add a 3-inch layer of mulch within a 6-inch radius of the gladiolus.

Step 7

Deadhead--remove spent blooms--frequently throughout the growing season.

Step 8

Cut back the stalk at the end of the blooming period to 4 inches tall.

Step 9

Winterize gladiolus bulbs if you live in mild winter regions, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 and above, by covering them with a 4-inch layer of mulch. If you live in Zones 7 and below, dig up the bulbs prior to the first frost. Brush off the soil and cut the stem to within 1 inch of the bulb. Set the bulbs in a warm area for two weeks.

Step 10

Break off the bottom bulb and discard. Place the top bulbs in a mesh bag and place in a dark, dry area that remains between 35 to 45 degrees F. ‭

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening fork
  • Compost
  • Trowel
  • Mulch
  • Stake
  • Rubber mallet or hammer
  • Mesh bag


  • National Gardening Association: Gladiolus
  • ‭"‬California Master Gardener Handbook";‭ ‬Dennis R.‭ ‬Pittenger‭; ‬2002
Keywords: grow gladiolus bulbs, plant gladiolus bulbs, gladiolus corms

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.