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How to Cut Gladiolus

By Michelle Skidgel ; Updated September 21, 2017
Gladiolus blooms create an element of height in floral arrangements.

The gladiolus, which is in the iris family, requires little care to thrive. Weed control, mulching, and adequate water are the keys to successful gladiolus growth, according to the Ohio State University Horticulture and Crop Science Department. Since the plant should bloom about 10 weeks after you plant it, you can enjoy gladiolus cuttings in vases or arrangements from spring throughout summer, if you plan your planting schedule accordingly.

Grasp the gladiolus spike, or stalk, between the second and fourth leaves. Ideally, four leaves should remain on the portion of the stalk still attached to the plant, recommends the University of Missouri Extension. Select a stalk that has between one and three open blooms; the remaining buds will bloom after cutting.

Cut the gladiolus stalk diagonally with garden shears.

Place the gladiolus stalk in a tall vase filled with warm water. Keep the stalks in a vertical position until you use them in an arrangement.

Move the vase to a cool area that receives little to no light for two to three hours prior to placing the gladiolus stalk in an arrangement, recommends North Dakota State University Extension.


Things You Will Need

  • Gardening shears
  • Tall vase


  • To ensure freshness, cut the gladiolus stalk only in the morning or evening.
  • Gladiolus water should be changed daily, and the lower end of the stalk should be cut by 1 to 2 inches so it can continue to absorb water.
  • As lower blooms wither and die, remove them to maintain the arrangement's attractive appearance.

About the Author


Michelle Skidgel has worked as a writer and editor since 2001. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Oklahoma State University and is currently raising and homeschooling five children with her husband. Her articles for various websites specialize in parenting, green living, gardening, cooking and frugal living.