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Gladiolus Not Blooming: Tips On Getting A Gladiolus Plant To Bloom

Gladiolus Not Blooming: Tips On Getting A Gladiolus Plant To Bloom


By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Gladiolus plants are lovely spikes of color that grace the landscape in summer. They are not very winter hardy and many northern gardeners may experience the frustration of their gladiolus not blooming after the cold season. If you have had occasion to ask why your glads did not flower, get some answers on the variety of reasons for no blooms on gladiolus here.

Reasons Glads Did Not Flower

Gladioli grow from corms, which are underground storage organs much like bulbs. Glads thrive in sunny warm areas of the garden with good drainage and rich organically charged soil. The corms should be healthy at planting in fall, and around ¾ inches (2 cm.) in diameter. Gladiolus come in a riot of colors and will re-bloom every year. Northern gardeners will need to lift the corms in fall and store them through the cold season to protect the gladiolus from freezing temperatures.

It would be hard to pinpoint one single reason for a gladiolus to fail to flower. Here are the most common explanations:

Site Conditions – Site conditions are a classic possibility. The corm may have experienced a freeze or be planted in a zone where flooding takes place. Corms crack and get mushy once frozen and soggy corms will mold and rot.

If the area has become overgrown or shaded by a tree or hedge, there will be no blooms on gladiolus since the plant needs full sun to bloom. Additionally, the planting site may become too compacted over time for the slender stems and leaves to push through. Lifting and re-cultivating the soil annually will ensure this doesn’t occur.

Age – Gladiolus corms will expand and increase over time, but the original corms will eventually become spent. The number of years before this happens will vary but usually the new corms will take up the slack.

Fertilizer – Newly planted corms may also not bloom because the corms were too small. Wait a year and fertilize with a balanced 8-8-8 plant food in spring to encourage both foliage and bloom formation. Annual fertilization is key to getting a gladiolus plant to bloom but avoid any food with a high percentage of nitrogen, which helps form foliage. If your glads did not flower and are near the lawn, they may suffer from the inability to form blooms due to the high nitrogen content of lawn fertilizers. Adding a high phosphorus fertilizer or bone meal around your plants can help offset this.

Pests – There will be no blooms on gladiolus that have been infested with a tiny pest called a thrip. The feeding activity of this “no see’um” bug causes the forming blooms to wither and fall off the plant before they can fully form. There are a number of insecticides you can use to kill off the nasty little insects, like neem oil, or try a horticultural soap.

In some regions, squirrels, field mice and moles may be responsible for a gladiolus not blooming. These animals may take a liking to the corms and munch on them, causing the “glads did not flower” scenario.

Disease – Rot is the most likely disease culprit for no blooms on gladiolus. Corms are also susceptible to root blights, bacterial scab, as well as several viruses. Always store corms in a dry place and choose corms that are healthy and without blemishes.

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How long does it take for gladiolus to bloom?

Fertilizer – Newly planted corms may also not bloom because the corms were too small. These animals may take a liking to the corms and munch on them, causing the “glads did not flower” scenario. Disease – Rot is the most likely disease culprit for no blooms on gladiolus.

Subsequently, question is, do gladiolus bloom more than once? Often used as cut flowers, these corm plants bloom once a year. Although they will not flower more than once in a season, home gardeners can stagger plantings for continuous bloom in the gladiolus bed throughout the summer.

Beside above, how do you get gladiolus to bloom?

Gladiolus spikes blossom from the bottom upward.

  1. Fill a tall bucket with about 6 inches of lukewarm water.
  2. Cut the gladiolus spikes on a diagonal slant with a sharp knife under water in the sink.
  3. Fill a vase with lukewarm water.
  4. Set the vase in a room that is warm.

What to do when gladioli finish flowering?

Plant Care After Blooming To store the corms, carefully dig them out of the planting site and trim the stems and any foliage off using a sterilized pruning tool. Shake off loose dirt and spread the corms out on newspapers to dry, which takes approximately three weeks.


Why is my gladiolus not blooming?

Gladiolus spikes blossom from the bottom upward.

  1. Fill a tall bucket with about 6 inches of lukewarm water.
  2. Cut the gladiolus spikes on a diagonal slant with a sharp knife under water in the sink.
  3. Fill a vase with lukewarm water.
  4. Set the vase in a room that is warm.

Similarly, what month do gladioli flower? Called the sword lily for its upright, flower-studded stalk, the gladiolus is a fair weather plant. The flower bulbs, also called corms, are not winter-hardy. The flowers bloom from mid-summer through the first frost.

People also ask, how long does it take for gladiolus to bloom?

Gladiolus can be planted about two weeks before the last expected spring frost. It will take 70 to 90 days from planting until flowering. For a continual harvest of flower spikes, plant a few corms every two weeks until early summer.

How many times does a gladiolus bloom?

Gladiolus flowers open one by from the bottom up, so each stem will be in bloom for up to two weeks. Planting time determines bloom time, so instead of planting all of your gladiolus corms at once, purchase enough so you can plant a handful every week from spring through early-summer.


What do you do with gladiolus after they bloom?

Often used as cut flowers, these corm plants bloom once a year. Although they will not flower more than once in a season, home gardeners can stagger plantings for continuous bloom in the gladiolus bed throughout the summer.

Secondly, when should gladiolus be cut back? It is best to cut gladiolus at the point when 1 or 2 flowers are already open—the lower ones will open first. This will ensure that the flowers stay fresh longer once they're in a vase. It's always best to cut flowers in the morning when the air is cool and the plant is the most hydrated.

Regarding this, should I deadhead gladiolus?

Deadheading gladiolus flowers is not really necessary but it causes no harm to the plant and ensures a prettier display. The notion that if you deadhead gladiolus you will get more blooms is not accurate. Once all the flowers have faded, remove the entire stem with pruners or shears.

Can I move gladiolus when they are flowering?

How to Transplant a Gladiolus. Gladioli have long-lived blooms that do well as cut flowers. The plants typically flower from the middle of summer until the first frost you can stagger the plantings so that they do not all bloom at once. Transplanting a gladiolus means moving the corm from one location to another.


Can you help me troubleshoot why my gladiolus plants aren't blooming?

My gladiolus have been up since early summer. I put them in the half barrel this year because last year I only got 3 blooms. Where the used to be did not get a lot of sun. I thought the new place and barrel would be better. I have had NO blooms. What is wrong? I really don’t have anywhere else to put them. Do I just give up?

Hey Tamara: Never give up! Here are a couple of sites that should help you:

This should give you some help. Good luck

Hey Tamara: Never give up! Here are some sites that should help you out:

This should get you started. Good luck

Thank you to those who sent web sites to give me information. However, not one site told me why they don’t bloom and how to fix it. :(

Did you feed them? When I plant in the spring, I always compost about a inch around the base of the plant. I also use a fish bone meal (1 Tbsp per plant) in the hole as I plant. Then thru the spring and summer I feed them fish fertilizer once a month until their blooms fade. Glads require full sun for at lest 6 hours a day.

‘Your plants look good. Just keep up working with them. you will find what works for you and them.


Deeper Planting

Soil is a great insulator, too, and deep planting is another way to protect corms from freezing. If the cold can’t get down to them, they remain safe and viable.

From zone 6a Lamont, Michigan, a reader who prefers to remain anonymous writes, “I always plant my glads very deep in order to increase the support for the stem and prevent tipping. When I first planted them here, I did nothing to over-winter them because I intended to treat them like annuals. So I was surprised when they returned the next summer. Now ten years later I have come to expect it. Of course it is possible that with our recent mild winters the ground is simply not freezing as deep as I plant my glads — about 10 inches. But so far so good.”

Don’t plant them too deep, though, or your glads may never make it to the surface. Deep planting is safest in sandy soils, since they are lighter and easier for the growing foliage to penetrate.


How do you show cut gladiolus?

Cutting Gladiolus Flowers for Bouquets

  1. Cut the flower stalks early in the morning or at night, not during the heat of day.
  2. Use a sharp knife and bring a bucket of lukewarm water to the flower bed.
  3. Cut stalks with only one or two open flowers.
  4. Cut diagonally through the stalks and place them in the bucket.

Beside above, how do you make a gladiolus vase?

  1. Select gladiolus stems with only a few open flowers or with florets at the bottom of the stems showing color.
  2. Place each stem's cut end in a container of lukewarm water immediately to prevent wilting.
  3. Fill a vase with lukewarm water, and add a flower preservative solution that contains a sugar, acidifier and germicide.

One may also ask, how do you show gladiolus?

Arranging Gladiolus Stems. Fill a heavy vase 2/3 of the way full so that each stem is submerged. Choose a heavy vase that can counter the weight of the stems. If possible, use a taller vase to keep the stems upright—that way, the spikes won't bend.

Do you cut gladiolus after they bloom?

Once several of the buds begin opening, you can cut the flower stalk diagonally from the plant. To keep the gladiolus flowers looking fresh longer, trim about an inch off the bottom of each stem daily and snip off any spent blooms.


Watch the video: Gladiolus Flower Painting in Watercolor. Flower painting step by step. Watercolor