How to Plant Glad Bulbs


Gladiolus grow in a series of blossoms on a thick stem. The flowering spikes need a well-drained, sunny site to thrive in. Glads grow from a bulb or corm that is planted in the soil. New corms grow from the main corm during the season. The main, or mother, corm produces the stem before it deteriorates. Gardeners with short growing seasons will find it an asset to start sprouting the corms before setting them into the garden. Glads require a small amount of work to grow, and the reward is colorful blooms for large floral displays.

Short Season Start

Step 1

Set the bulbs or corms into a shallow pan. Make sure that the corms are positioned with the flat end down. Pour room-temperature water into the bottom of the pan until it covers the bottom half of the corm.

Step 2

Set the pan in a room with indirect sunlight and temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees.

Step 3

Check the water level daily. Add extra room-temperature water if it lowers below the corm.

Step 4

Observe the growth of the green stalk as it sprouts from the top of the corm. Roots will sprout below the water line.

Step 5

Transplant the corms into the garden when all danger of frost has passed in the area.

Direct Planting

Step 1

Dig the soil with a garden spade at a depth of 10 to 12 inches to loosen it. Remove any stones from the area.

Step 2

Work 2 cups or 1 pound of fertilizer per 100 feet into the soil with a hoe at the bottom of the flower bed. Substitute composted manure for commercial fertilizer for an organic flower bed. Plant corms 2 inches above the fertilizer to prevent burns.

Step 3

Plant corms flat-side down in rows or circles 6 to 8 inches apart. Set large corms in at a 6-inch depth, medium at a 4- to 5-inch depth, and smaller corms at 3 inches. Plant tiny corms or cormels at a 2- to 3-inch depth. Cormels grow for a second season before producing any florets.

Step 4

Cover the gladiolus corms or bulbs with soil.

Step 5

Water and soak the soil thoroughly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not allow the water to go stagnant when starting glads in a pan. The bulbs will rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Shallow pan or dish Spade or hoe 8-8-8 fertilizer or manure


  • University of Minnesota: Growing Gladiolus
  • North Dakota State University: Giddy Over Gladiolus
  • Digital Commons University of Nebraska: Growing Gladiolus
  • Easy to Grow Bulbs: Gladiolus Growing Information

Who Can Help

  • The Old Farmers Almanac: Gladiolus
  • Floridata: Gladiolus
Keywords: gladiolus, summer flowers, cut flowers, flower garden

About this Author

Suzie Faloon is a freelance writer who has written online content for Demand Studios and Associated Content. As a professional crafter and floral designer, Faloon owned a florist business for nearly 25 years. She completed the Institute of Children's Literature course in 1988.