This summer I will again be growing gladiolus for cut flowers. My mom has always called them ‘glads.’ You might have seen the bulbs for sale in bunches in the summertime at the supermarket or at a farmer’s market. They have an almost tropical feel in a tall vase, and you will feel very pampered when you adorn your family table with them.
Graceful and colorful, these long-stemmed beauties last as many as 10 days before completely giving out. And while they look like a fragrant bloom… they have no fragrance what-so-ever.
Directions For Glorious Gladiolus
Obtain bulbs (also known as corms) in the color(s) you want to grow. Bulbs often come packaged like this in single colors or in multi-colored sets:
Simply plant gladiolus bulbs in rows 8-10″ apart and 5-6″ deep with the root buds faced down or follow package instructions. You could plant a new row every two weeks and have a steady supply of fresh cut flowers to give to friends or put in a vase.
The bulbs can be dug and saved in a warm location from one year to the next. They aren’t supposed to overwinter, I’ve heard, but surprisingly, in our zone 5B garden we have had glads act more like perennials for the last 5 years. The yellows and oranges and peaches aren’t as hardy, apparently, and have died off. Thankfully, we’re left with beautiful crimson, purple, and fuchsia glads each year.
A healthy, fresh bulb should not be dried out. It should be firm and fleshy like a good clove of garlic or an onion with a tough skin. Often, but not always, you can see the little root buds swollen and just waiting for contact with soil and moisture to grow.
At the appointed time, ‘little swords’ slices through the soil and announces their presence. Glads are in the iris family and come in zillions of colors and hues.
The gladiolus is sometimes called the ‘sword lily’.
Here are some more tips on growing and cutting gladiolus for the best show and repeating the performance next year.
Thanks for reading!