Botanical name: Gladiolus
Plant type: Flower
Sun exposure: Full Sun
Soil type: Any
Bloom time: Summer
Gladiolus is a perennial favored for its beautiful, showy flowers. Its flowers grow on tall spikes and are often found in cutting gardens or in the back along the border (because they are tall). Gladioli have many different colored flowers, and grow between 2 to 6 feet in height. It's good for cut flowers.
- Plant gladiolus bulbs in the spring once danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed.
- Ready your garden by using a garden fork or tiller and loosen the soil to about 12 to 15 inches deep. After loosening the soil, mix in a 2– to 4–inch layer of compost.
- Plant your bulbs 4 to 8 inches deep with the pointed end facing up. Space the corms 3 to 6 inches apart. Water the corms thoroughly.
- Gladioli like well-drained, light soil and full sun.
- If you're planting tall varieties, be sure to stake them at planting time. Be careful not to damage the corms with the stakes.
- It takes about 90 days from the time gladioli are planted to root, grow, bloom, and store enough energy for the next season.
- Put a 2– to 4–inch layer of mulch around your gladioli to keep your soil moist and help prevent weeds.
- If you get less than 1 inch of rain a week, water your plants regularly throughout the summer. Otherwise, water them moderately when in growth to keep the soil moist.
- Remove the faded/dead flowers to ensure continuous growth. Once all the flowers on a stalk have gone, cut off the stalk.
- Be sure to leave the plant intact so it can mature and rejuvenate the corms for the next season.
- If you live in zones 7 or 8, put down a layer of hay or straw for winter protection.
- Corms should be dug before the last frost in you live in zone 7 or ones colder.
- At the end of the season, cut the stalks to within an inch of the corms, then leave them in a warm, airy location for 1 to 2 weeks.
- Remove and throw away the oldest bottom corms and store the new corms in plastic, mesh bags in a well–ventilated room. The temperature of the room should be between 35º and 45ºF. Replant these corms in the spring.
- Candyman, for its beautiful deep pink flowers
- Dream's End, which makes a good back border plant because its flower spike is up to 3 feet long (and it has pretty light orange flowers with large yellow centers)
- Prins Claus, which has white flowers with splashes of pink on its petals