Flower Focus: the Gladiola


It’s no secret; we here at Gardening by Design have a special love for flowers. There, we said it. We are GLAD….. to introduce a few of our most favorites by spotlighting them through Flower Focus. For our first edition, meet Gladiola: the easy to grow, tall, stocky, blossoming, sword-like (Gladius is Latin for ‘sword’) bloom that proves to be a show-stopper in gardens and bouquets alike. Grow them in your backyard to admire and even use for little cut-flower bouquets for friends and family – how sweet is it to give loved ones flowers we can say we cultivated ourselves? This spring has been a little late-coming but we finally got around to planting our Gladiola bulbs this May long weekend and we just can’t wait for them to pop up. Read below for planting instructions and a few tips and tricks to consider when doing so!



-A small gardening shovel (or simply your own two hands!)

-Enough fresh soil to cover planting area, and perhaps a little mulch

-Gladiolus Bulbs (can be purchased at your local garden center – we went to Artistic Landscapes)

-A spot in your yard that is lucky enough to receive full sun!

Once you have purchased your bulbs and found a nice sunny area to grow your Glads, now it is time to consider your layout! Here at Gardening by Design we thrive on focusing on the layout and ultimate design of our gardens as a whole and suggest either planting them in rows (ideally towards the back of your garden so that they don’t hide any of your lower-laying plants, or along a fence so that they have some support), or scattered randomly for a wild, English garden effect. Another option is to plant them in striking clusters for a show-stopping effect – these Gladiolas will be the diva of your garden, after all, and deserve all of the attention of the eye they can get!

Mid-May is the best time to begin planting, and we like to space out the timing of planting so that they don’t all bloom at once! This year we planted about a dozen, and then will continue planting a dozen more every couple of weeks until mid-June. This way the bloom time will be continuous and stretched out for optimal enjoyment. This is our very favorite little trick of the trade when garden plotting!


Remember our post on growing your own Avocado tree from home? Well, when planting your Gladiola corms, we apply the very same rule as the pit of the avocado: keep the pointed end upwards and the more flat end downwards. As pictured above, you can see the teeniest, tiniest little roots beginning to grow and this is the side you will want facing down in the soil so that these roots can grow and flourish! The larger the sizing of the bulbs, the more likely you they are to produce large, healthy blooms, so when shopping around for corms try and get your hands on a ‘tall and plump, chocolate kiss’ shaped one rather than a flat looking one. Here is a helpful link in case you run into any concerns or questions when planting your Gladiolas! It sure helped us out in regards to navigating the characteristics of this radical flower: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/gladiola/care-of-gladiolas-how-to-grow-gladiolas-in-your-garden.html


If your Gladiolas are free-standing (rather than being in a row along a fence or hedge), you may need to stake them for optimal support. Because they can grow so tall, they tend to be rather top-heavy and may not fare so well in a summer storm so we like to stake ours just to be safe. This also helps them grow straight and strong which will produce the best blooms to use as cut flowers in your DIY bouquets! To finish off planting our bulbs we applied some fresh top soil and a touch of fresh mulch to assure well-draining conditions, especially with all of the rain this spring!


Good luck and have fun planning your garden this season! Stay tuned for our next Flower Focus: the Poppy! Until next time,

Thanks for reading

GBD Team