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How to Grow Gladiolus (Sword Lilly)

Gladiolus are also commonly called: "Gladiola", "Glads", and "Sword Lilly". Call them what you will. Gardeners and homeowners just love to grow Gladiolus. They are an easy to grow plant. Their tall, bright spikes makes a bold statement, growing in the flower garden, and in indoor arrangements, too.

Here's another interesting fact: technically, gladiolus are not bulbs. They are corms. These corms are related to bulbs, but not quite the same. Most of us refer to them as bulbs, and just between us...that's okay.

Flowers bloom in many colors, including white, orange, yellow, pink, blue and many bicolors. Blooming in August, Gladiolus open their florets from the bottom first, and progress up to the top. It's best to harvest Gladiolus for arrangements and vases before the top blossoms open. The top blossoms will open indoors.

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How to Grow Gladiolus:

Plant Gladiolus corms in the springtime. You can plant them singly, in rows, or in groups. The plants prefer full sun, and a soil that is rich and soft. They will tolerate partial shade. Add fertilizer once a month, to promote strong, healthy plants and bigger blooms. Once planted, your gladiolus should grow well with little attention. Add mulch to help retain water, and to keep the weeds down.

Over the summer season, the plants quickly grow up to three to four feet tall. Use plant stakes to support the long, heavy flower spike.


As a corm, Gladiolus plants produce new baby corms on top of the mother corm. In late fall after the plant has died, dig up the corms. Separate the corms and wash them. Allow them to air dry for a couple of days. Place them in a cool, dry, dark place during the winter.


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