Gladiola is the flower for the month of August and it is a gardener’s treasure, graceful, stunning and easy to care for. Gladiolus is part of the Iris family, you can see the likeness, and its lovely Latin name is derived from its resemblance to the swords of the Gladiators.
For such fragile looking beauties they are remarkably resilient flowers and can grow in most types of soil; they should not get their roots too wet so an area or container with good drainage is necessary for them to flourish. They prefer full, all day sun but can do well in morning and afternoon shady spots as well.
Timing the planting of your gladiola corms (bulbs) is important and most planting begins on February or March, a good tip is to find out what time corn is planted in your region and plant your glad corms at that time too. A great ‘rule of thumb’ method is to plant each corm five inches deep and five inches apart with the tip side facing up. Planting a few bulbs in one area will create a beautiful array of color when the gladiolas bloom.
A quick tip for a full season of color is to plant bulbs every couple of weeks so you will always have flowers blossoming throughout the summer and you will not feel as reluctant to cut them for indoor decoration if you know that more are on their way. Gladiolas make excellent cut flowers but cut them when the blooms begin flowering on the lowest part of the plant so they will last longer. Be careful not to cut off all the leaves on the plant, some foliage must remain for the corms to regenerate themselves for the next year.
Depending on how harsh the winters are in your region will depend on if you choose to dig up your corms to protect them for the next planting season. If you live in a milder climate you may choose to leave your corms in the ground over the winter, but too much rain and cool weather can damage the bulbs and you may end up with a disappointing bloom next year.
When storing the corms make sure they are in a single layer on a flat tray or open container and make sure they are left in a cool, dry place over the winter period with good ventilation. It is recommended that you divide up your gladiola corms every two years as this will prevent a crowded bed of flowers.
Like fragrant warriors these tall beauties will conquer any corner of your garden and make it