Plant and grow gladiolus because they are showy and easy.

The colorful gladiolaCredit: Photo by Jane Gates

If you want a really showy flower in your garden, consider planting gladiolus bulbs. (Some folks spell it 'gladiola'.) Well, to be correct, these are actually gladiolus corms. But since most people will call these bulbs (both bulbs and corms are swollen forms of storage and are planted and grown essentially the same), we will keep calling them bulbs for now.

Gladiolus bulbs are easy to grow. If you live where the ground will freeze, you will want to dig the bulbs and store them over the winter where they will stay cool but safe from freezing. If your ground doesn’t freeze, you can leave them in the ground to spread over time. Gladiolus plants have a vertical habit of growth that can add interest to the design of your landscape. In windy areas you may have to stake them to keep them from falling over. There are also dwarf varieties with shorter growth habits that shouldn’t need support.

Gladiolus can be grown in large clumps to put on a brilliant splash of color or can be planted neatly in smaller groups to offer splashes of color. They are even ideal for slipping into pots where the can add a tall, eye-catching focal point when planted with other plants.

Gladiolus are some of the showiest flowers you can grow. They come in just about any color you want including bi-colors with decorative designs and markings. They probably give one of the highest percentage of flower to leaf you will find in any garden flower. And because they come as neat, easy to plant dormant bulb-like forms, you can fit them into many different areas. They also are perfect to cut for indoor arrangements.

Give your gladiolus bulbs good drainage, rich soil, ample water and plenty of sunshine. They will put on a flamboyant display but will not flower for a long period of time before they fade from the bottom of the stem up. Once flowering is done, make sure you keep the foliage stay on the plant until it is mostly yellow or brown. If you leave it until it dies back completely it should pull away from the bulb cleanly with a little tug. Never cut off the leaves when green or you will keep the plant from draining the energy back into producing new bulbs for the next season’s growth and you will have no more glads next year.

Grow gladiolus bulbs – or corms – because they are easy, low maintenance and very colorful in the garden, in containers and even when cut for indoor arrangements.