Gladiolus flowers are perennials that stand tall and beautiful. The flowers vary in color and give your garden a dramatic, lush feel due to their long, flower-filled stalks. The gladiolus does well in just about any environment in the United States, only struggling in climates with harsh, cold winters where spring and summer are much shorter. After purchasing your bulbs, plant at the peak time so your flowers will grow and thrive.
Plant your gladiolus bulbs as soon as the ground is soft enough to work with. It may still be chilly outside but your bulbs need to get into the ground. Plant your bulbs 6 inches deep in your garden and cover it halfway with loose soil. This will allow it to get extra warmth from the sunlight. After the temperature begins to warm up and the spring weather is consistent, cover the bulbs completely. Depending on the size of the bulb, plant them between 2 and 7 inches apart. The larger the bulb, the farther apart they should be planted.
Keep your garden full of blooming gladiolus throughout the growing season by planting additional bulbs every 2-3 weeks during the middle of the summer. When planted properly, gladiolus bulbs will bloom and flower in about two weeks. Be sure not to plant at the end of the summer, as the gladiolus will not be able to fully bloom before a hard freeze in the fall. You will not be able to disturb or move the gladiolus until the leaves begin to turn brown and die, as doing so will disrupt its growing cycle and may render the bulb useless for the next season.
When planting your bulbs, include sand mixed in with the soil. The gladiolus thrives best in sandy soil and if you do not live in an area where sand is part of the soil, you must mix it into the dirt. Also, gladiolus do not like to compete for space with tree or shrub roots nor do they enjoy being planted against a foundation of a house or shed. Instead, plant your gladiolus in an area of your garden that is in a sunny location and set aside just for them. Before the first spring planting, put down fertilizer in the area where they will be planted. The flowers need to receive a minimum of 1 inch of water a week and a water-based fertilizer must be watered into the soil during the middle of the summer as well.