Genus Gladiolus, Family Iridaceae
Gladiola, Glads, Flag Flower, Sword Lily
Gladiolus flowers may perennialize in zone 8 and warmer, but most gardeners treat them as annuals.
Gladioli bloom from July until frost. However, the plants don’t bloom continuously, so planting new corms every two weeks will extend the blooming season.
Planting glads too early won’t reward you with earlier blooms: Gladioli pout in cold soil, and may even rot. Wait until night temperatures reach the 60’s before you set out your gladiolus bulbs.
Any well-draining soil is fine for growing gladiolus bulbs. Although glads can tolerate shallow planting, placing them at least six inches under the soil’s surface provides support to emerging shoots.
When first frost strikes, you can dig your glad bulbs for winter storage. Dry them for a few weeks, and store them in a cool, dry place.
Gladioli don’t need much attention after planting. If the weather is dry at planting time, you can water the bulbs once, but don’t water them again until you see shoots or you may encourage rot.
Fertilize newly emerged gladioli shoots with a balanced, 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer. Keep your glads off the ground with half round plant stakes, hoop stakes, or single stem supports, depending on how many glads are in your grouping.
Thrips sometimes bother gladiolus plants. You may not see the tiny winged insects, but you’ll notice brown foliage tips and flecked foliage. Treat thrips with insect soap.
- Atom: Red with picotee white border
- Boone: Yellow with coral accents; said to be hardy to zone 6
- Green Lace: Ruffled chartreuse blooms
- Lucky Star: Unusual for its fragrance; white with red throats