How to Care for Gladiola Plants in Your Garden


Gladiolus, a perennial plant that grows from a corm, is generally cultivated for its flowers. When in full bloom the plant can reach a height of 2 to 6 feet. Flowers bloom in mid-summer, on long stalks, in a multitude of colors from pale pastels to vibrant primary colors. Gladiolus is easy to grow in just about any climate and will bloom from spring to fall.

Step 1

Grow your gladiolus in well-draining soil in a sunny area with no wind. Spring and fall are the best times to plant gladiolus.

Step 2

Water every week during the summer and when the weather is dry. Horticulturists from the University of Minnesota recommend giving the gladiolus an inch of water a week.

Step 3

Apply a water-soluble, 20-20-20 fertilizer, at least 5 inches from the base of the plant, when the gladiolus reaches 10 inches tall. Apply again when the flower spike begins to form.

Step 4

Cutting gladiolus flowers should be done when 2 or 3 of the florets on a stalk open. Cut diagonally and immerse the stems in warm water. Allow them to soak in the water, in a cool, dark area for a few hours.

Step 5

Keep pests away by clearing away all weeds and any dead or dying organic matter from the flower bed. Gladiolus is prone to infestations of tiny insects called thrips. You can protect the young gladiolus, those over 6 inches tall, by dusting the leaves with Sevin dust.

Step 6

Dig up the gladiolus corms 4 to 6 weeks after the plants have stopped blooming. Wash off the soil and place the corms in the sun for 2 to 3 weeks. There will be an old corm on the bottom, remove it and throw it away. Dust the corms with an all-purpose fungicide and store them in a mesh or net bag, at 35 to 45 degrees F, until you are ready to plant them next season.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer, water-soluble, 20-20-20
  • Sevin dust
  • Hand clippers
  • Gardening trowel
  • Fungicide
  • Mesh bag


  • National Gardening Association
  • University of Minnesota

Who Can Help

  • Pleasant Valley Glads & Dahlias
Keywords: growing gladiolus, flowers from bulbs, glads

About this Author

Bridget Kelly has been a writer since 2005. With a background in real-estate sales, she blogs professionally and provides articles to national and regional real-estate websites and publications. An apprentice master gardener, Kelly enjoys gardening and writing about gardening topics. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.