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March 10, 2022

Gladiolus flowers

The gladiolus, also known as “glads”, is a beautiful symbol of summer’s arrival. These impressive flowers look stunning in the garden or as an elegant arrangement in a vase.


Easy to grow, gladiolus are ideal for novice gardeners. The corms are planted in the spring and within a few weeks, their orchid-like blooms will quickly fill your garden with colour.


The gladiolus originated in Africa and Eurasia, finding its way to North America in the mid-1900s. Their impressive size prompted experts to deem them the Latin term Gladius or “sword”, leading to their appropriate nickname, the sword lily.


Standing on stems that can reach upwards of five feet, gladiolus come in a variety of striking colours, with each flower adorned with smaller blooms. These blooms reach a width of about 3 to five inches across.


Here are some helpful hints on how you can grow delightful gladiolus in your garden.


Gladiolus creates opportunities for gardeners to plant dynamic displays of colour. The broad range of sizes allows for unique landscaping designs.


There are more than 260 unique and colourful varieties to choose from giving gardeners plenty of stunning options.


Some of our favourite 5 pack glads include:

  • Gladiolus Jumbo Nori – glorious violet-blue blooms with white centers, growing to 50 to 60 inches tall. Bloom time is 75 to 80 days from the time of planting.
  • Gladiolus Jumbo Peter Pears – beautiful salmon-orange blooms growing to 50 to 60 inches tall. Bloom time is 70 to 75 days from time of planting.
  • Gladiolus Jumbo Polar Bear – stark-white blooms also growing 70 to 75 inches tall and a bloom time of 70 to 75 days after planting.
  • Gladiolus Jumbo Jester – have wonderful yellow blooms with red centers. They grow 50 to 60 inches tall and bloom time is 70 to 75 days from planting.
  • Gladiolus Jumbo Green Star – Ruffled lime green blooms growing to 50 to 60 inches tall with a bloom time of 80 to 85 days after planting.


Shop our full selection of gladiolus here.


Due to their unique onion-like appearance, you may find yourself asking are gladiolus bulbs? Though they may have the appearance of a bulb, gladiolus starts as corms.


Corms are solid tissue rather than layers of leaves. They can be started indoors or planted directly outside. Unlike traditional corms which are planted year after year, a new corm grows with each season.


Gladiolus should be dug up in the fall and stored until the spring. Once the warmer weather arrives, reaching temperatures of around 13C, then it is safe to plant them again.


When deciding where to plant your gladiolus, think about the design you would like to achieve. To create a layered effect, and ensure blooms all season long, stagger planting times for corms every 10 days. Growing time is between 60 and 90 days guaranteeing blooms well into the fall.


Before you plant your gladiolus corms it is important to plan your garden design. Glads can grow to be very tall, which could block out other plants and give your garden an uneven appearance.


Plant your glads in well-drained soil, with light fertilizer. Remember, gladiolus originate from traditionally warm climates, so they love full sun.


Prep your soil by lightly tilling the soil, mixing a 2 to 4-inch layer of compost or manure for added nutrients.


How deep to plant gladiolus corms

Check your gladiolus corms in the spring to ensure there is no fungus or signs of damage. Choose your largest corms for planting. 1 ¼ inch or larger will give you the best blooms.

  • Dig a hole approximately 4 inches deep and place points end up.
  • Cover with soil and press the soil down firmly.


How far apart to plant gladiolus

  • Due to their grand size, it is important to give your glads lots of space. Plant corms 6 to 8 inches apart.
  • Grow your gladiolus in rows for ease of cutting.
  • If you are going to group your gladiolus with other plants, it is recommended to plant corms in groups of 7 for maximum visual impact.
  • If you are planting a taller variety, it may be helpful to stake them to prevent them from breaking or bending as they mature.


How to plant gladiolus corms in pots

If you are ready to begin growing your glads indoors in preparation for spring planting, there are a few tips to follow for successful blooms.

  • Start by choosing a tall pot. This will ensure there is enough soil to support the height of the plant. A pot with a depth of 12 inches is recommended as this will help protect the root system from damage.
  • Choose a pot that has excellent drainage. Place two inches of gravel in the bottom of the container to prevent water from pooling. Terracotta pots can help prevent moisture build-up and are highly recommended for starting gladiolus corms in pots.
  • Plant corms root side down approximately 3 to 5 inches deep.
  • Place the pots in full sun, moving them around as the season progresses so you always have the right level of sunlight.

Gladiolus require little maintenance, making them a great option for new gardeners. Add a layer of mulch around your gladiolus to prevent weeds and keep the soil moist.


Water regularly depending on the level of rain you get. Cut any dead or faded blooms to encourage new growth.


Once the growing season is completed, cut the remaining stalks approximately 2 to 3 inches over the ground level in preparation for removing the corms.


Gladiolus plants are one of the easiest and most impactful ways of adding colour to your garden. The garden experts at Sheridan Nurseries can help you get the look you want with a large selection of gladiolus varieties.


Let us help you create the colourful garden you have always wanted with professional advice and the right tools.