Gladioli make wonderful cut flowers.
image by Loneangel: Morguefile.com
Few flowers provide the strikingly beautiful blooms of robust gladiolus. These late-summer beauties add height and color to gardens and are ideal in backgrounds or along fences. Tall spikes of soft blooms ranging in color from pristine white to deep, rich red open gradually from bottom to top, creating a long-lasting flower that holds up well as a cut flower. Planted in spring for summer blooms, the tender bulb-like corms must be lifted in the fall and stored for next year's blooms.
Select an area that receives full sun for six to eight hours a day for sun-loving gladiolus. An area against a building or fence provides the support that glads need when in full bloom. A south- or west-facing location is ideal.
Prepare the soil by tilling or spading to a depth of 12 to 15 inches. Gladioli require well-drained soil rich in organic material. Add a generous amount of well-rotted manure or compost, and mix it in well with the existing soil. A 3-to-4-inch layer of organic matter is ideal.
Plant gladiolus in late spring after the soil has warmed and all danger of frost has passed. Place gladiolus corms to a depth of 4 inches with the pointed ends up. Press them in place and cover with soil, firming each one down with your hands to remove air pockets and settle the corm. Space corms 6 inches part.
Stake gladioli 2 to 3 feet high at the time of planting with a sturdy plant stake or wooden stake. Glads planted against fences or buildings do not require staking.
Water gladioli thoroughly to a depth of 4 inches. Mulch with 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch to retain water and suppress weeds.