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How and When to Plant Gladioli Bulbs in Australia

Gladioli grow from underground corms and can be grown in the garden to create a lovely mass display of colour.

Gladioli are lovely colourful flowers that will add some cheer to your garden when they bloom in summer. On top of that, they make excellent cut flowers and will look fantastic in a vase on your dining room table.

Gladioli grow from underground corms and can be grown in the garden to create a lovely mass display of colour. They are also suitable for growing in pots to brighten up your outdoor entertaining area.

If you want to grow these beauties yourself, here’s everything you need to know.

When to plant gladioli corms

If you live in a temperate region that is frost-free, you can plant the gladioli bulbs from winter right through to early spring.

In areas that experience some frost through winter, wait until early spring to plant your bulbs.

However, if you live in the tropics, you can plant your gladioli bulbs all year round. 

How to plant gladioli bulbs in your garden

Choose a spot in your garden that is in full sun and protected from strong winds. Make sure that the soil is free-draining. Gladioli will grow happily in most soils except for waterlogged ones.

Add some compost or aged manure to the soil before planting your gladioli bulbs. This will get them off to a good start.

Gladioli corms are quite flat and they need to be planted with the growth point facing upwards. It’s recommended that you plant the bulbs as deep as four times the size of the corm.

Gladioli bulb planting | Plant care

This usually means that they need to be planted around 10 to 12 cm deep. Using a bulb planter will ensure that you plant the corms deep enough. 

If you’re planting multiple corms, space them around 10 to 15 cm apart to give them enough space to grow happily. 

You’ll get the best display if you mass plant these stunning blooms in groups of around 6 to 12. They should start to flower within 90 to 100 days from planting.

Therefore, if you want a continuous display of colour in your garden, you can plant successive bulbs a fortnight later right throughout the growing season.

Gladioli flowers | Plant care

Once you’ve planted your corms in the ground, water the soil well but make sure that excess water is able to drain away.

How to plant gladioli corms in pots

Select large pots with good drainage holes. Ideally, pots should be around 15 to 30 cm in diameter. Larger pots can even accommodate two or three bulbs.

This is excellent if you want to mix up the colours for a spectacular display.

Make sure that you fill your pots with premium quality potting mix that has some additional fertiliser added. For optimum flowering, ensure that there is sufficient potassium in the fertiliser.

Alternatively, you can mix in some slow-release fertiliser as you’re filling the pots. Select one that is designed for flowering and fruiting plants as this will contain sufficient amounts of potassium. 

Tomato fertiliser will work well for gladioli.

Follow the same procedure outlined above for planting them into the garden making sure that you plant the corms deep enough and with the growth point facing upwards.

It’s also a good idea to feed your potted gladioli with a liquid feed at least once a fortnight during the main growing season throughout spring, summer and into autumn.

Do gladioli bulbs need to be lifted over winter?

If you live in a temperate or tropical climate that doesn’t receive any frost or lots of rain during winter, you can leave the corms in the ground.

However, gardeners in cooler regions that experience frost and wet weather, should lift their bulbs so that they don’t rot in the wet ground. 

Gladioli Bulbs 1 | Plant care

You can do this once the foliage has died down. Just gently dig the corms out of the ground and wash off any excess soil. Make sure you allow them to dry before storing them in a paper or mesh bag in a cool spot. 

If you don’t experience heavy frosts where you live, you can leave the corms in the ground but cover them with a thick layer of straw to protect them over winter.

The straw should be around 5 to 10 cm thick and it’s a good idea to do this in late autumn.

FAQ

When do gladioli flower in Australia?

In Australia, gladioli flower right throughout summer and into early autumn. This means that they’ll give you glorious blooms for a long period of time, especially if you stagger the planting of the corms.

Can you plant gladiolus bulbs in pots?

Yes, gladioli bulbs can be planted and grown in pots quite successfully. You’ll find that the miniature varieties will be best if you plan to grow them in large pots. Consider hybrids from the Gladiolus primulinus species or the Gladiolus nanus species.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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