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Do Gladiolus Come Back Every Year? Are Gladiolus Perennials?

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Gladiolus are sun-loving plants that can change the appearance of your garden with their gorgeous colors and beautiful spikes. The pointed shape of gladiolus makes them much more attractive and unique.

The name gladiolus came from the Latin word gladius which means sword. The flower comes in a lot of different species and has a wide range of different colors.

Do gladiolus come back every year?

Gladiolus comes back every year. They normally bloom for two months but you can get them blooming till early fall by planting the corms in intervals. These sun-loving flowers grow and bloom the most when there is plenty of sunlight. Every year, beautiful gladioli spikes come to enhance your garden.

They grow back after every fall and bloom to make your garden look pretty as always. Let’s get to know more about gladiolus.

Gladiolus bulbs:

Gladiolus grow from corms which are similar to bulbs. Corms are the storage organ of gladiolus that grow underground and are used for planting new flowers. Corms can’t stand cold weather.

If you live in a cold area where the corms can freeze to dry, you have to collect the corms to protect them.

A great way of protecting the corms is by harvesting them before winter arrives. The gardeners can collect the corms in the fall and store them through the cold season.

They can sow the corms again during the start of spring. It takes about 90 days for a gladiolus plant to start flowering.  

Gladiolus flowers:

Gladiolus needs good drainage and soil to flourish. If the weather is too cold, the corms start freezing, get mushy, and eventually rot.

Gladiolus requires full sun to see the light of the world. Even shades of large trees can decrease the possibility of blooming.

The beautiful spiky flowers are easy to cut and bring home. They grow fast hence you can decorate with these flowers to bring that tropical feel to your home. Gladiolus loves summer.

In many parts of the world, gardeners have to go through frustration due to their gladiolus not blooming after winter.

Are gladiolus annuals or perennials?

Gladiolus are perennials meaning that the plant dries and comes back to life again in the next season. Gladiolus plants store all their nutritional elements in the corms. The corms stay beneath the ground and wait for the next season to start growing and blooming again.

Gladiolus are called perennials as they can bloom from the same corms next season.

In warmer areas, you can leave the corms on the ground but in colder areas, you may have to dig up and store the corms indoors to plant them again in the next spring.

Gladiolus is considered a popular ornament in flower arrangements for its unique spikes and gorgeous bright colors. But it is wise to let the flower dry itself to keep all the nutrients of the plant intact.

Since gladiolus are perennials, the foliage starts to dry after full bloom and soon the plant dries back. When this happens, the plant stores all its nutrients in the corm. The plant will grow back again and bloom in the next season.  

Do gladiolus bloom more than once?

Gladiolus don’t bloom more than once in one season. But nothing to worry about as they come back again in the next season.

If you want to see the gladiolus blooming in your garden for a long time, you can plant corms throughout the spring and early summer and see the flowers blooming till autumn.

Can I leave gladiolus bulbs in the ground over winter?

You can leave gladiolus bulbs in the ground over winter only if the temperature in your area doesn’t go below the ideal temperature.

The ideal temperature for gladiolus to stay healthy and keep blooming is between 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Though few small species are known to survive a temperature drop till 15°F, this temperature is not suitable for most of the other species.

The corms are likely to freeze and the foliages will dry. Gladiolus are sun-loving flowers. The corms of gladiolus can’t stand cold.

So if you live in a colder zone, you must harvest and store the corms to plant them later for your flowers to make it to the next blooming season.

What to do with gladioli bulbs after flowering?

Generally, you don’t have to do anything to the corms after the flowering of gladioli. These plants are perennials meaning they dry on their own when the season is over and come to life again the next season.

The corms wait for the season with all the nutrients of the gladioli stored in them.

They provide the same nutrients to the plant and help the flowers to bloom when the weather is suitable.

But in colder zones that are not ideal for gladiolus and the corms, you can’t leave the corms on their own. You will need to collect and store the corms and wait for the next spring to plant them again.

Do you have to dig up gladiolus bulbs every year?

In warmer regions, you don’t need to dig up gladiolus bulbs every year as they can easily withstand the winter’s cold.

But in colder regions where the winter’s temperature falls below the tolerable range for gladiolus, you will have to dig up and collect the corms to store them for the next season.

Try to leave the corms in the ground as long as possible as these are the storehouse of energy needed for the next bloom.

How long can you store gladiolus bulbs?

Gladiolus corms can be stored for up to a year. But you have to store the corms the right way or they can either shrivel up or go bad.

You should not store the corms for more than 12 months as the corms start to lose their essence and most corms will not be in a state to be planted again.

How to store gladiolus bulbs over the winter?

In many places of the world, winter is too much for the gladioli corms. There are ways to collect and store the corms over the winter so you can plant them later when the blooming season is near.

Collecting the corms:

When the gladiolus plants start to dry or the foliage is over, you need to dig up the soil lightly with a spade. Don’t go rough as this can damage the corm. Carefully take the corm out and cut off foliage two inches above it.

Cleaning and drying:

Gently shake the soil off and put the corms in a well-ventilated and warm area to dry them. This process takes about 2 to 3 weeks.

Storing the good corms:

Once the corms are fully dry, check for old and dried-up mother corms and tiny cormels at the base of the new corms. Discard the old corms. You can keep the small ones for propagation.

Finally, put the good corms in nylon stockings or mesh bags and hang them in a well-ventilated, dry, and cool place. The temperature of that place should be between 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

When to plant gladiolus bulbs?

The best time to plant gladiolus bulbs (actually corms) is in between spring and autumn.

The start of the spring when the frost has ended and the ground has begun to get warmer is the ideal time to start planting the corms. The temperature of the soil has to be 55°F or more.

If you have plans to grow a lot of gladioli, it is wise to plant corms during spring and summer with an interval of at least 10 days. This way you will get to see your gladiolus blooming throughout the early autumn.

Then when the winter arrives again, you can start harvesting the corms again and store them to plant in the following spring.

Final thoughts

Gladiolus comes back every year to grace your garden with its stunning colors and spiky beauty. Gladiolus are perennials that dries after the season is over and relive again the next season. You may need to collect and store the corms if you live in a cold area where the temperature is too low.

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