Growing Gladiolus Flowers in Gardens and Pots

Growing gladiolus flowers in gardens and pots is easy. Gladiolus flowers are loved by many gardeners. Not only are the flowers easy to grow but they also produce beautiful blooms that brighten any garden or yard. Gladioli are also awesome summer bedding plants that don’t require year-in-year-out renewal. Hybrid Gladiolus corms can easily give you mid to late summer colorful blooms in consecutive years with minimal work and occasional renewal.

Growing Gladiolus Flowers in Gardens and Pots

Gladiolus flowers are grown from corms. However, most people gardeners and nurseries included often refer to them as bulbs instead of corms. As long as we can communicate what we want and get beautiful flowers it shouldn’t bother us.

Gladiolus flowers are members of the South African Iris family. They are some of the best options when you’re trying to bring color impact to space.

The corms grow and produce sword-like leaves. The flower blooms are trumpet or funnel-shaped and appear in vertical rows that open from the bottom upwards.

Gladiolus flowers get their name from the Latin name “gladiolus” which means little sword. The flowers are named so because their leaves resemble swords. This also the reason why some people refer to the flowers as Sword-lilies.

You can get gladioli corms from most garden centers and nurseries. You can buy gladioli corms in different colors. They are available in different shades of orange, white, red, pink. Some sellers also have bicolor varieties which are rather striking as well as rare blue shades that are hard to get.

Miniature Gladiolus Hybrids

There are different varieties of gladiolus to select from. Some grow to become quite large while others don’t. Miniature hybrid gladioli varieties remain relatively short and reach about 2 ft high.

The advantage with these miniature hybrid gladioli is that they don’t require staking unlike some of the large varieties.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, check the varieties details before making a purchase.

Planting Gladiolus Flower Bulbs

A majority of the gladiolus flower varieties bloom for approximately 2 to 3 weeks. One of the ways of having blooms in your garden for longer is to stagger your plantings at weekly intervals. If you stagger your planting, different gladioli plants will flower at different times extending the period you have flowers.

Gladioli corms of the same color can be grouped in clusters of 5 or more to create a bigger impact. However, experimenting is always fun and you can mix things up in whichever way you like and create the look you want for your garden.

When to Plant Gladiolus Flower Corms

Gladioli corms should be planted approximately two weeks before the last spring frost. If you’re going for the staggered planting do so every two weeks until the early Summer. This period usually falls within early April until the end of May.

When establishing the corms, space them between 4-8 inches apart in the garden. The corms should also be planted about 4 to 6 inches deep (10 to 12cm). The bigger the corms the deeper they should be planted.

Soil Requirements for Gladiolus

Gladiolus flowers do well in sandy loam and rich well-draining soil.  If your soil is not well-drained, you run the risk of the corms rotting over winter.

Mulching Gladiolus Flowers

Mulching is used for two reasons when growing gladiolus flowers. One is to keep the soil moist and ensure that the corms and the young plants get sufficient water. This is especially important when growing the corms directly in the garden.

Mulching is also important in preventing weeds. The mulch suppresses the emergence of weeds, which means less water and nutrient competition for the plants.

Apply 2-4 inches of mulch around each gladiolus.  

Gladiolus Flower Light Requirements

Part of growing gladiolus flowers in gardens and pots also includes learning about the plant’s light requirements. Gladiolus corms grow and flower best when established in a location where they receive full sun. If this is not an option for you, ensure that they get at least 4 hours of sunlight every day.

Watering Gladiolus Flowers

Water the flowers when the soil is dry. Just like with other flowers and plants, increase the watering frequency during dry weather as the gladioli foliage can become extremely thirsty. On average, the gladioli corms take between 70-90 days to flower from the time they are planted.

Planting Gladiolus Corms in Pots

The option of planting Gladiolus corms indoor is a great alternative if you don’t have a yard or garden. It is also a great option if you want to use the corms and flowers for home décor.

You might want to pay special attention to the variety selection because some might be too big for the container you intend to use.

Fill your pot of choice with gravel, or small stones at the bottom. The layer acts as a safety net to avoid the bulbs sitting in water in case you over-water. Fill the rest of the pot with potting soil and leave about 1 and ½ inches at the top.

Dig small shallow holes about an inch apart and plant the bulbs before covering them with soil. Make sure to position the bulbs with the pointed ends facing up.

Water the setup thoroughly and allow water to drain from the pot’s drainage holes at the bottom. Place the setup in a cold dark place. The corms do well in a temperature range of between 45 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

Check the setup to ensure that the roots are established. Move the Gladiolus corms to a location with room temperature and bright sunlight. You can expect the blooms to appear soon after.

Gladiolus Flower Arrangements

Gladiolus flowers make some of the most beautiful flower arrangements. They can be used in different types of floral designs be it for home décor as well as for occasions such as parties.

It’s important to note that when cutting the blooms, don’t remove all the leaves from the plants. The flowers need the leaves to make food which is stored in the corms to support the next seasons’ growth.

Check these posts for gladiolus flower arrangement ideas:


Gladioli are great flowers that every plant owner or gardener should try. They will reward you for all the effort you put into growing them.

I hope you found this post on growing gladiolus flowers in gardens and pots helpful. If so, please share it and also follow me on Pinterest for more useful posts on everything flowers.

Growing Gladiolus Flowers in Gardens and Pots Ideas



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