Growing Gladioli

Jan 29, 2016
Fuschia Gladiolus
Celeste Longacre


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I love gladioli. I like to have them to put into bouquets during much of the summer so I plant them sporadically.

I start in early or mid-May (once the frost is done). Ten go into the ground a couple of inches down.

Since they are going to need stakes eventually, the stakes get placed next to them. This way, their spots are marked and they will merely need to be tied when the flowers begin to sprout out of the leaves.

After another ten to twelve days, I plant them again. I repeat this process for several weeks until my bulbs are all in the ground.

They emerge by sending a stalk up out of the ground. Often, there will be two stalks which is wonderful as this means that there will be two flowers from the same plant. When the flowers begin to open, they are picked and placed in vases around the house. Or, they are matched up with other cut flowers and given away to friends.

 When buying bulbs, I look for bright, beautiful colors. There are quite a few different species of gladioli to choose from, so take some time looking around for the best –looking ones. With a little care, these bulbs can be kept for many years.

Where winters aren’t severe, gladioli will live through them in the soil. However, for those of us in the north, we need to dig them up and take them indoors for the winter.

  • In the fall (before the first frost), pull each whole plant out of the ground. Be careful not to separate the leaves from the bulbs.
  • Then place them on some old newspapers in a shady, airy place to dry. I put them on the floor in my screen porch. Keep them protected from frost while they are drying.
  • After about two weeks, they are ready to prepare to store. Pull the bulbs gently from the leaves and separate the new bulbs from the old, shriveled ones. Place them in a container with wood shavings. Store in a cool place that doesn’t freeze such as a basement or root cellar.
  • The bulbs will be ready to replant in the spring!


About This Blog

Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens. Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer and gardens by the Moon. Her new book, “Celeste’s Garden Delights,” is now available! Celeste Longacre does a lot of teaching out of her home and garden in the summer. Visit her web site at for details.

Reader Comments

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tops wilting - shriveling

This is my first year and have some beautiful flowers but noticed today that a few tops are kinda shriveling up and look wilted. Not sure if it is a bug but don't see any. Is there something I can use to spray if there is a bug? Is it maybe too little water? I water them everyday but was gone for two days and it was in the 90's. Would that have done it? Only about 8 out of 35 are doing this. Please help!

replanting gladioli in Wilmington, N.C. 6-29-2018

Admire your farming skills - my scattered gladioli survived the 2017-2018 harsh winter but not all flowered; I'd love to dig them up and just replant them more closely together in my yard for next year. Any suggestions on the "how" and "when" to do this chore? Thanks in advance.

streaked colors in my glad blooms

My glads all seem to streaks of white in the blooms. They are not all the same color. What can I do next year to prevent this?


Hi Kathy, You may need to buy new glads. They may have cross-pollinated on you.


I'm shopping for glads, I'm in OKlahoma, zone 7, are they hardy enough to stay in ground through winter with possibly some mulch ( straw, compost) and how long will they bloom thru out the summer?

Hi Ida, I am not completely

Hi Ida, I am not completely knowledgeable about other planting zones, but you may be able to keep them in the ground with some mulch. In that case, though, I don’t know when they would bloom. I stagger plant mine so that they keep coming all summer long. Each bulb blooms once although many will send up two stems and have two flowers.


I planted several bulbs late spring and all that grew was the stalks. I never got any flowers from them. I live in Mo. near Stl. Any thoughts?

Hi Don, You may get flowers

Hi Don, You may get flowers yet. I just got my first few and I planted them in early May. Don’t give up yet! They come fast when they come.


My dog dug up a bulb and snapped the top off. Will it grow a new one or just die?

Hi Anna Liese, I don’t know

Hi Anna Liese, I don’t know the answer to this question, but you probably do by now. Did they grow back?


Does anyone know if gladioli are deer-resistant? Any help wlecome...

Hi Merete, I don’t know if

Hi Merete, I don’t know if these bulbs are deer resistant, but I do know that the moles and squirrels and chipmunks don’t seem to bother them.

Are gladiolus deer resistant

Deer love gladiolus, the only thing I have found that works is to spray the bloom with cayenne pepper solution. They haven't been back since their 1st taste. Or maybe it's because they fill up on my one pound tomatoes!

Where did you purchase the

Where did you purchase the bulbs from?

BTW, kudos for all you do for

BTW, kudos for all you do for your family! You should be very proud of yourself!

I would love to try them!

I would love to try them! I'm in Arkansas Zone 7, so maybe I could try mulching them. Yours are stunning!

Hi Marika, Thanks for your

Hi Marika,

Thanks for your lovely comments! I think that you could try growing gladioli. I've never heard that they can't be grown in a warmer environment. You may even be able to leave them in the ground over the winter. Try mulching. Thanks again!

Pretty glads! I have a couple

Pretty glads! I have a couple questions: 1. Are they considered perennials in the Northeast? 2. I live in a cold place & I've never dug up my glad bulbs. Just pile on a few inches of mulch. Is that OK?

Hi georgewilson, I don't

Hi georgewilson,

I don't believe that glads are considered perennials in the Northeast. Mine don't make it through the winter unless I dig them up and bring them in. If the mulch works for you, great!

Gladioli are so beautiful!

Gladioli are so beautiful!


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