The original gladioli hybrids were developed from Mediterranean species. But today the African native gladioli are the popular varieties grown.
In the United States, the Gladiolus was an instant sensation on its first appearance that the American Gladiolus Society was formed in Boston. This was in 1910 and the popularity of the gladioli only continues to grow.
This flower is also called the Sword lily, corn lily or Glad. The Gladiolus symbolizes strength of character and is the flower for August.
The gladioli grow from corms, which is a bulb like root. Depending on your climate they may or may not be left in the ground over the winter. In my zone 5 climate they must be dug up and stored.
Check your climate to know if the corms need to be removed from the ground. But a rule of thumb is, if your winters offer heavy or hard frosts dig the corms up in the fall and replant them in the spring for late spring and summer blooms.
Glads look better if planted in groups of six or more. They also look more stylish if you plant the groupings in the same color.
Some of the taller glad varieties may require some staking as the flower heads are affected by winds and the weight of the flower blossoms when in full bloom. For safely sake I always stake taller glad varieties. I usually plant these flowers near fences or shrubs for a natural wind block protection.
Gladiolus will grow well in ordinary garden soil. They need average water and sunshine. The only requirement they have is good drainage.
I have found that a pinch of bone meal when planting time will give them a boost. And later in the spring I will give them a boost with fertilizer. I prefer compost tea.
The foliage will turn brown after flowering and die back until it pulls away from the corm easily. This is a necessary step to ensure the energy will drain down to create next year’s corm.
This is not a pretty stage of the flowers growing stage. One way for this to be less noticeable is to mix the plants among other plants.
Glads range in size from the 12” tall dwarfs to the glad giants, which will reach 60”. These flowers bloom in almost every color so will fit into almost any landscaping color scheme.
photo credit: Mason2008
Glads also do well in containers so you may wish to start a few corms in the late fall and bring them in to add color to your home. I usually always have a few containers of glad growing on the patio or in the sun room.