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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Add a 3-inch layer of mulch within a 6-inch radius of the gladiolus.
Deadhead--remove spent blooms--frequently throughout the growing season.
Cut back the stalk at the end of the blooming period to 4 inches tall.
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.
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.