The gladiolus is an easy-to-grow flower, especially valued for use in floral arrangements. Gladioli produce tall spikes of large blossoms, in a rainbow of colors. Only clear, true blue is missing; white, pink, red, purple, yellow, orange, salmon, and even green gladioli are available, along with many bi-colors. “Glads” grow from corms (bulb-like structures) that are not winter-hardy in Minnesota. They must either be dug in September and stored until planting time the following May, or replaced annually. Some gladiolus experts recommend treating them as annuals because you are more likely to get large, healthy blooms each year that way, and you don’t have to fuss with storing them.
Caring for Bouquets
Bring a sharp knife or florist’s shears and a tall bucket of lukewarm water to the garden with you. Cut the flower spikes first thing in the morning or at night, not during the heat of day. Cut spikes with only one, two, or possibly three flowers open; the rest will open in order, up the spike. Allow at least four leaves to remain on the plant if you wish to re-use the corms. Cut diagonally through the stalk and place it in the lukewarm water immediately. Once you’ve collected all the glads you want cut, put the bucket in a cool, dark place for a few hours so the blooms “harden off”. Use floral preservative in the vase water before arranging the glads. As lower flowers fade, nip them off. Cut about an inch of stem off the bottom of each spike every few days.