How to Care for Gladiolus Plants?

If you like gladiolus flowers then you must know How to Care for Gladiolus Plants? These Flowers are one of the best cut flowers. They can make a beautiful bouquet or just place then in a flower vase. Gladiolus flowers can survive in vases for 15-20 days. All you need is to cut off 1 inch from the base of the flower stalk every few days. Change the water regularly and add flower food or sugar solution to extend the flower life. Growing the Gladiolus plant is one part of the journey. The rest of it depends on proper plant care. The health of the plant will determine the quality of its blooms. Therefore We have to follow every single plant care measure from day 1 of the gladiolus plantation.

Care for Gladiolus Plants
Care for Gladiolus Plants

To proceed further we need to understand the basic needs of a gladiolus plant. Aso read How to Grow Gladiolus Flowers?

Gladiolus Plant Requirements

There are mainly three important requirements of a gladiolus plant. It needs-

  • Healthy well-drained soil
  • Adequate watering and 
  • Abundance of Sunlight 

If you keep the soil light and nutritious then the bulbs can easily grow in it. These plants require moist soil for healthy growth. Although they can sustain mild drought-like conditions. Prolonged dryness is not good for flowering. The plant may survive in dry soil for months but it will lose all the foliage and flower to protect the bulb. On the other hand, too much water in the soil can also cause root rot. Fungal infestation in the roots and bulbs is mostly due to overwatering.

Lastly, sunlight is the key to healthy growth as well as better blooming. Sunlight is important for temperature regulation. gladiolus plants need 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit to grow and bloom. They can not sustain temperatures greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit or lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water and sunlight together keep a balance in the temperature. Although with a slight change in natural balance these flowers may stop blooming. temperature disturbance is common, especially with container gardening. Lack of space and soil can stress out the bulbs more often than those in the garden.

Therefore Start with regulating soil condition, moisture and sunlight to keep the gladiolus healthy.

Gladiolus Plant Care

The basic plant care starts by fulfilling the needs of gladiolus. Once you provide every essential ingredient of its survival. These plants will defend themself from most common enemies like pests.

Every year the journey of a gladiolus starts from a bulb. We plant the blub, it grows and matures to develop leaves. Later it produces a long flower stalk. The gladiolus flower stalk can grow up to 5 feet tall depending on its variety. After a few days, small buds start to develop. At first, they are greenish, and with time they mature and turn into their respective colors. The flower buds start blooming at first then other follows them to the top of the flower stalk.

These flowers will start fading after 10-15 days. The stalk itself can last for 2-3 months with seedpods. The plant starts to die with a fall in temperature, especially around the first frost. It will lose its foliage and if the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit then the blub will die. Therefore in colder zones, we have to dig up the gladiolus bulbs before heavy frost. This is the last stage of the gladiolus plants.

Although the plant care does not end just with bulb digging. It continues to proper storage until replantation of these bulbs.

Every Step in the life of a gladiolus plant requires some care. We are going to discuss them all in a simple understandable way.

Is it Necessary to Care for a Gladiolus Plant?

how to Care for Gladiolus Plants
How to Care for Gladiolus Plants?

Yes, it is necessary to care for gladiolus plants. More importantly, care is essential as most of these plants are not grown in their native environment. In native conditions, a plant can fight back with all its strength. It can deal with basic problems like tests and small changes in its environment. The favorable climate will help the plants to grow and thrive despite all problems.

Although in the non-native environment the conditions are different. They may get a shorter growing season with frequent temperature changes. Also, the soil condition may not match their needs. Therefore to get the optimum output we have to intervene with slight modification. The modification in the growth condition is the real plant care. Without external help, gladiolus plants may not grow or bloom in new locations.

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Soil Care

  • Treat the garden soil with a contact fungicide. It will prevent the risk of fungal infestation
  • Dry and loosen the soil in bright daylight for 3 to 5 days. It will kill fungal spores, insect larvae, nematode infestation as well as some viral deposits.
  • Treat container soil with hot boiling water to ensure no nematode or bacteria stain remains alive.
  • You can also use the dry fry technique for soil treatment.  It is the best option to ensure no pathogen remains in the soil before plantation.
  • After soil treatment adjusts the drainage with sand, cocopeat, and compost. Check the moisture retention before placing the bulbs in the soil. The soil must not remain soggy or hold water for longer than 2 minutes.
  • Everything About Soil Requirements for Tulip Plant

Water Management

  • Water only once or twice every week.
  • Let the topsoil dry before the next water spell.
  • Keep the soil moist but never let it be soggy or completely dry.
  • 1-inch water per week per plant is sufficient for gladiolus.
  • How is Over Irrigation Damaging the soil?

Temperature Regulation

  • Gladiolus bulbs need at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit to sprout and 60-70 degrees to grow and bloom.
  • If sunlight is the only way to regulate temperature then use it carefully.
  • In colder zones grow gladiolus in full sunlight. It should receive 10 or more hours of daylight. 6-8 hours of sunlight should be sufficient to regulate the temperature in hotter regions.
  • In warm areas use the green net to lower the temperature during the summer season.
  • Shift the plants indoors in colder regions to prevent frostbite. Use the heating mat for gladiolus in the greenhouse, it will help in temperature management especially in cold zones 2-5.
  • Water spray can also help in lowering the temperature during the peak summer season. Although excess moisture on the foliage may cause fungal infection. Water the foliage only during the early morning time.

Care during Bulb Plantation

  • Inspect the bulbs for disease or pest infestation before planting.
  • Press the bulbs to see if its firm or squishy. Healthy bulbs are always hard and firm. Select only bigger 2-4 inch bulbs for best bloom.
  • Treat the healthy chosen bulbs with liquid consortia for 20 minutes. Then powder it with contact fungicide.
  • Let it dry in shade for 10-24 hours before plantation.

Support and Staking

  • Install support and stakes during the bulb plantation.
  • It is necessary to keep the flower spikes standing. Tall gladiolus variety especially needs support just to prevent their stalks from falling.
  • Some smaller varieties may not need the support. Although it is better to install stakes without damaging the corms.

Weed Removal

  • Remove weed and grass from the flower bed. They can compete for nutrition and water.
  • Proper spacing is also essential as too many gladiolus plants can also compete as weeds.


  • Apply 2-3 inches of light organic mulch as rice husk or wood dust.
  • It will prevent weed growth and also protect essential moisture in the soil.
  • Plastic mulch is not recommended for gladiolus bulbs. They can tray too much heat in the soil. They can also prevent proper aeration.
  • What is the Best Mulch for Raised Bed Gardens?

Gladiolus Plant Care

  • Always keep the plants clean and well-spaced.
  • Once in a while Wash of dirt is deposited on the foliage. It can keep the plant healthy. Though too much water can cause damage, so be careful.

Deadheading and Pruning

  • Gladiolus plants can shed spent flowers on their own. Still, it is better to remove dead flowers manually before they develop seed pods.
  • Ideal way of deadheading a gladiolus plant is by cutting off the flower spike. Harvesting is the best option. If you let it bloom on the plant then remove the spike before seeding.
  • Pruning the plant is not very essential. It is better to let the plant dry with time. When the foliage turns yellow or brown then cut and remove the leaves.
  • Leave a 2-inch spike attached to the bulb crown. It will act as a marker during bulb extraction.

Bulb Removal

  • Use clean sanitize garden tools for digging the gladiolus bulbs.
  • Treat the tools with rubbing alcohol to void fungal infestation.
  • Carefully dig trenches around the root ball and prevent any damage to the main bulb.
  • Take out the bulb and wash off the dirt with water. You can use fungicide with water to clean off the gladiolus bulbs.
Care for Gladiolus Plants and bulbs.
Care for Gladiolus Plants and bulbs.

Check out: Flower Bulb Division: When and How to Divide Plant Bulbs

Gladiolus Bulb Storage and Care

  • Let the gladiolus bulbs dry in part shade for  1 or 2 days. Avoid sunbath as it may dehydrate the bulbs quickly.
  • Dust these clean bulbs with contact fungicides. you can put the bulbs in paper bags with fungicide and shake them well.
  • Sort the bulbs according to their size, shape, quality, and especially colors. Bigger bulbs will bloom again next season while smaller ones will take a couple more years to mature.
  • Store these bulbs in cool well-ventilated storage. Storage temperature should not drop below 2 degrees celsius or 43 Fahrenheit.
  • You can also use old onion sacks or nets to hold them hanging. This will increase airflow between the bulbs which prevents fungal buildup.
  • Check for any sign of infestation in bulbs in storage. This should be done at regular intervals until they are ready to plant in spring. Remove and discard any infected bulbs and treat the rest with fungicide.
  • Don’t remove the husk from those dry bulbs. The husk is a simple yet important line of defense for the gladiolus bulbs.
  •  Final check before plantation is an important task. Look out for bulbs in bad shape or color. Remove any bulbs with holes or cuts. Take them out and treat them once again with liquid consortia for 20-30 minutes max.
  • These bulbs are now ready to replant. Plant them carefully and enjoy the Gladiolus blooms from spring till late summer.

What’s your favorite way to Care for Gladiolus Plants? Write down in comments and keep reading.


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

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