Confession time: I love gladiolus. I couldn’t grow them in Florida; gladiolus need a bit of a freeze and they just can’t get that in the Sunshine State. When I came to Missouri I started seeing gladiolus bulbs at my local garden centers and decided to give them a whirl. They love Columbia, Missouri and have quickly become some of my favorite flowers.


Gladiolus are found all over the world and there are many different varieties. Gladiolus start out as corms (bulbs). I’ve planted gladiolus in almost every color of the rainbow (save blue). I even had some super deep red ones that were practically black and some green ones (that I hope come up this summer).

You can plant them in the spring for a summer bounty. They like to be planted about 3-4 inches deep in a place that will get full sun. Some people dig them up each year after they bloom and store them in a cool dry place over winter. This probably allows you to save on rebuying so many bulbs, but I am a lazy gardener. I leave my bulbs in the ground and many of them come back, depending on how harsh of a winter we have (they don’t like to freeze too hard).

Fun facts about gladiolus courtesy of Wikipedia (and I verified through some Googling). They are the flower of August, which makes sense because that is when they tend to bloom. Apparently anniversaries have special flower associations and the 40th is devoted to gladiolus. Morrissey (you know, that Morrissey from the Smiths) seems to have a thing for gladiolus (visual proof below).

Garden Club Activity

Get your clubbies together to make some bouquets in the heat of summer. See if you can make a rainbow of glads together. Mark where your various varieties are in your garden (take a picture to remember which is which). Then, in the fall, dig up your bulbs and trade with one another as you prepare them to go to bed.

Bonus Activity: Play this Charming Man by the Smiths and make like Morrissey and have a dance party with your glads. Pairs well with something tart and sour (like Morrissey). Try this Hibiscus Gose from Boulevard Brewing out of KC.

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