For fresh-cut floral arrangements, the Gladiolus is the reigning queen. Tall, upright stems yield a row of large flowers that bloom in succession, starting at the bottom and working their way up. Gladioli bloom from corms, which are similar to bulbs and hold the plant's nutrients. Gladioli require full sun and will bloom throughout the summer. Hardy in zones 7 to 10, the corms will need to be removed in the fall, stored indoors and replanted again in the spring.
Planting and Care
Choose a site with full sun and well-drained, fertile soil. Gladioli can be grown in groups of six or more. Corms can be planted in late spring. Dig the soil about 4 to 6 inches deep. Place the corm into the hole, spacing each about 6 inches apart. Cover with soil. Water generously.
When plants grow to about a foot high, place a stake next to it in the soil, as gladioli may fall over during high winds or heavy rains. Water weekly during the summer months.
For cut-flower arrangements, cut the stems just as the first bloom appears. Cutting should be done in the morning, before midday heat. When cutting, make a diagonal cut in the stem with your scissors, leaving at least 4 leaves behind so the corm will continue to get its nutrients and bloom again next year.
Mulching with grass clippings or other material during the summer will keep moisture in. Place a thin layer around the base of the plants.
In the fall, after the leaves die off, corms can be dug up and stored for the winter. Dig up the corm, cut off the stem, and clean off any excess dirt. There will be younger corms attached to the older one. Remove these younger ones (they should just snap off), place in paper bags or old pantyhose and store in a cool, dry place. In the spring, they can be replanted.