There was a time when gladioli were deeply unfashionable, and although they haven’t become quite as trendy as their very stylish sisters the dahlia, they’re well on their way.
They are so easy to grow, plant them as corms in spring and they’ll re-appear, with only a small amount of care, every year.
I grew them for the first time this year and have been cutting them for the last couple of week, even a single flower spike in a tall, narrow vase look lovely.
How to grow gladioli:
The best time to plant them is in March/April when the soil is warming up.
I planted mine in the greenhouse first and then transplanted them into the garden, but it’s much simpler to plant them directly into the garden.
Dig a trench or large planting hole about 15cm/6in deep and fill the base with home-made compost or well-rotted manure, this gives the corms a nice rich soil to grow in that won’t dry out too easily. Pop them in, cover with soil, firm this gently down and water them.
Water them if if’s very dry and warm and tie them to a cane as they grow to keep the flower spike straight.
The corms need to be fattened up so they’ll flower next year, simply water them with a diluted measure of Tomorite or comfrey tea once a week for four weeks when they start flowering.
They can be left in the ground in the south of England over winter, just give them a nice thick covering of compost to insulate them against the cold.
Buy them from Crocus or any bulb nursery.