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When to Plant Gladiolus

By: Julie Day

Can you give me some tips on planting gladiolus? When’s the best time, and when do they bloom? And should I order them online or buy locally? -Beverly

The best time to plant gladioli (Gladiolus sp.) is in spring. Most varieties of gladiolus are hardy to zone 7 and can be left in the ground over the winter in those zones. In areas colder than zone 7, they should be planted in spring after your last frost date, and they’ll need to be dug up in the fall and stored with your other tender bulbs.

Gladioli bloom about three months after they sprout in spring – so when they bloom really depends on where you live. In warm climates where they stay in the ground year-round, gladioli bloom anytime from late spring (deep South) to midsummer (middle South). In cooler climates you can expect blooms about three months after planting. Do successive plantings two weeks apart until June for a nonstop summer show!

Technically a corm, not a bulb, gladiolus are considered tender, which means they do not require a period of cold in order to bloom (unlike bulbs like daffodils, which must be chilled in order to bloom). They can be planted in the spring around your last frost date, and take 60-100 days to bloom. Do successive plantings two weeks apart until June for a nonstop late-summer show!

As for where to buy gladioli, it’s up to you, but your local garden center may have only a limited selection, particularly if they only sell packaged bulb mixes. Ordering will give you access to the hundreds of unique varieties of gladiolus, but shipping delays may put you late in the planting season.

Either way, make sure your gladiolus corms are plump, healthy, and primed to bloom. Gladiolus corms are given a number rating based on their size (#1 is large, #6 is small). Buy no smaller than #3 corms in order to have blooms this year. Or, if you don’t have graded corms to choose from, pick corms larger than 1” in diameter.

Further Information



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4 Comments on “When to Plant Gladiolus”

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  1. masom Says:
    May 9th, 2010 at 8:05 am

    i need photo of gladiolus corm

  2. Merle Bush Says:
    March 13th, 2011 at 11:09 am

    this is my first time planting gladious they are beautiful flowers and I want to put then around my hummingbird poll and hope they attracting more hummbirds.

  3. Carrie Says:
    April 2nd, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I have always lived in a colder rainy area where I could not grow Glads. I recently moved to another town and was informed if I started my Glads indoors then moved them outside, they would do great. I started the bulbs March 5 and as of this date they are about 18″ tall. Next year I will start them inside much later. I don’t know what I will do, I still have 4 weeks before I can start hardening them off.

  4. Richard Raffit Says:
    July 8th, 2011 at 9:46 am

    We planted the bulbs in late March, the leaves have grown three feet tall but we have no sign of flowers. the plants are in the sun most of the day, and we water them every other day. WHAT ARE WE DOING WRONG???

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