Gladiolus Planting & Growing Guide

With elegant, 2- to 5-foot flower spikes and orchid-like blooms, you can't go wrong with these easy-to-grow beauties! The bright blooms are available in countless brilliant colors, ranging from white, yellow, orange, pink, and lavender to rose, burgundy, purple, green, or even bi-color! The radiant spikes, which begin to bloom in late summer, require minimal ground space and make exceptionally long-lasting cut flowers. Learn more about growing and caring for these towering spires with this easy-as-pie guide!

  • Planting Depth
    3-4" (Glad nanus), 4-6" (Glad hortulanus)
  • Planting Proximity
    4-5" Apart (Glad nanus), 5-6" Apart (Glad hortulanus)
  • Planting Season
    Fall or Spring, depending on species
  • Plant Benefits
    Colorful flowers that are popular with florists.
  • Water Quantity
  • Bloom Season
    Spring to Early Summer
  • Sunlight Quantity
    Full Sun
  • Hardiness Zones
    Zones 5-11 (Glad nanus), Zones 8-10 (Glad hortulanus)

Where to Plant

Whether you're planting in containers or garden beds, Gladiolus perform best in locations where the soil drains well and they will receive full sun. They will not thrive in soggy soil or standing water, so if you notice water puddles 5–6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site.

When to Plant

Plant your Gladiolus bulbs roughly two weeks before the last expected spring frost. You can expect blooms to appear 70 to 90 days later, and for a continual spectacle of color, stagger the planting every two weeks until early summer.

How to Plant

  • For container planting, start with a large container with drainage holes and fill it with good quality, well-drained potting soil. Place your container where the Glads will receive full sunlight. Dig holes and plant the bulbs 4–6" deep and about 4–6" apart with the flattened side down and the growing point facing up.
  • For outdoor landscape planting, find a location where there is plenty of sunlight and the soil drains well, as Glads will not survive in standing water. Dig holes and plant the bulbs 4–6" deep and about 4–6" apart with the flattened side down and the growing point facing up.
  • Water thoroughly after planting to soak the soil and settle it around the large bulbs.

How to Grow

  • Water periodically during the growing season if rain does not occur, keeping in mind that weekly deep waterings are better than lighter drinks every day or two. About 1" of water per week is a good estimate of the amount needed during active growth periods.
  • Leave the foliage in place at the end of the blooming season rather than trim it off. The leaves will gather sunlight to create food through photosynthesis, strengthening the bulbs for the future.
  • Remove the leaves and stalks when they turn yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy.

Gladiolus Tips & Tricks

  • Feel free to cut a few stems while in bloom for stunning bouquets. If you'd like to include foliage in your arrangements, cut sparingly as these leaves are needed to nourish the bulb for next year's show.
  • Group in clusters of ten or more when planting for a spectacular display of brilliant color.
  • Plant your Glads at two-week intervals to extend the blooming season.