Gladioli are named from the Latin for “little swords”, hence why some still refer to them as Sword lilies. They have sword like foliage with tropical blooms. I will continue to refer to these glorious gladiolus as “glads”. They range in height from 12 inches to 5 feet. The glads come in two types: large flowered and miniature.
The large flowered type are the most popular. With so many flowers on one stem, available in so more colors than any other flower, ruffled, semi ruffled or plain- its no wonder that its a beloved classic. They are hardy in Zone 7 and up. The miniature are mostly smaller and shorter replicas of the large flowers. These are hardy in Zone 4 and up. The corms multiply quickly each year providing you with more flowers the next year!
They are loved mostly for use as cut flowers, because of the wide range of colors, sizes and flower types and delicate as an orchid. They can be a great complement in flower beds as the back of the border for bushier and shorter flowers. Or they can be a nice accent in large container gardening as well. Most of all, they look best when planted in mass. These are excellent for the amateur gardener as well, because they will grow almost anywhere seeming to almost take care of themselves.
You will want to plant these corms (a type of bulb) in full sun and in well drained soil after danger of frost. You would plant them 3-4 inches deep with flat side down and about 5 inches apart. A great technique is planting multiples of them a week apart to have glads blooming all summer into fall!
If you live in Zone 6 or less, it is easy to store them over the winter. I will get to the topic of storing these at a later date. It is time to think of planting and enjoying them- not hiding them away for another season!