Gladiolus is a perennial flowering plant known for its beauty. People grow them at home because of their strikingly tall stalks and large, abundant blooms that grow in many vibrant colors.
But the gladiolus will still command your attention even as it grows outside of a landscaped garden. Because of its beauty and ornamental value, homeowners use different methods to propagate the plant.
For example, some germinate, and others grow new plants from divided corms.
Do gladiolus plants spread by themselves? Yes. Gladiolus reproduces through small corms known as cormels that form at the base of old corms. Cormels have a reproductive function. When the old ones die, new ones form.
The corm serves as the storage organ of the gladiolus too. It helps the plant to survive adverse weather conditions, including winter, summer drought, and heat.
Will gladiolus bulbs multiply?
The gladiolus bulbs, also known as corms, will multiply each year. Mature corms produce small cormels. Once the parent corm dies, the small cormels become the new source of the gladiolus plant.
As a result, the new corms form at the basal of the plant. And as the new corms grow, short stolons appear with newly growing small cormels.
Vegetative reproduction allows the gladiolus to multiply, allowing growers to divide and transplant it to other areas.
Do gladiolus reseed themselves?
The gladiolus plant does not always produce a seed pod. However, in ideal growing conditions, the plant can grow small bulblets that appear like seed pods.
Although you can plant the seeds, they will take several years to produce. Thus, the best way of growing the gladiolus is to use the corms or allow the plant to offset itself.
Does one gladiolus bulb produce a single flower?
The gladiolus plant grows from corms. Therefore, you can only grow a corm to get the gladiolus plant. One gladiolus corm can produce a flower that grows to a height of up to five feet.
Typically, a bulb should produce one stem. However, the corm can produce up to 20 fist-size florets in excellent growing conditions.
Furthermore, the plant grows with unbranched stems that produce 1 to 9 narrow, sword-shaped, longitudinal grooved leaves.
Can you leave gladiolus bulbs in the ground?
Most gardeners do not dig out gladiolus bulbs before winter because it is tedious. Besides, some gardeners prefer buying new corms to produce more flowers. But you can leave gladiolus bulbs in the ground and wait for the flowers to grow. However, that will depend on your area.
For example, if you live in an area with mild winters or hard frost does not form during the winter, you can leave the gladiolus bulbs or corms in the ground. But that assumes the plant is healthy and thriving.
It will eventually grow into a beautiful flower since the root system will remain intact and well-established. Therefore, during the winter, people who live in hardy Zone 7 can leave the bulbs in the ground.
But if your area experiences harsh winter conditions that can damage the corms, dig them up. The best time to dig them out is at least two weeks before the severe winters begin.
That will give you enough time to dry the corms and make them dormant before storing them for the next planting season. It is also a good idea to dig out the corms if pests, fungi, or diseases have infected them.
Do gladiolus bloom more than once?
The gladiolus plant blooms once a year. However, the plant does not produce flowers more than once a season. But you can stagger plantings to ensure continuous bloom in your garden.
Also, it takes about three months for gladiolus plants to bloom, depending on the species and subspecies. Once the period is over, they will produce blossoms from the corm.
And even if you cut the gladiolus flower, the flowers will only bloom and produce several flower spikes if the corm is large enough and has sufficient energy.
What to do with gladiolus cormels?
You can propagate gladiolus cormels to produce more flowers. The cormels form from the corm.
Therefore, the first thing is to dig up each corm and remove cormels. Allow them to dry and store them for the planting season in the spring. Once the time is ripe, grow the cormels.
Although they may grow into a plant, they will not produce a flower within the first year.
Do gladiolus bloom the first year?
The gladiolus does not bloom in the first year, primarily if you use small corms. That is because small corms are not mature and cannot flower within the first year of growing.
Therefore, you will see foliage without flowers after the first year of growth. Then, the energy stored in the corms will help grow the entire plant and flowers.
However, when you plant mature bulbs or corms, the plant will take around three months to show buds.
Why do gladiolus plants have leaves with no flowers?
The plant can have leaves with no flowers if the growing conditions are not right. For example, if you have overgrown the corms and the plant is not getting enough sunlight, flowers will not bloom.
Also, if diseases and pests have infected the corms, the plant may grow without flowers. Other things like flooding and choice of fertilizer can prevent the flowers from blooming.
Gladiolus plants can also spread by themselves but you can propagate the gladiolus plant by germinating seeds or growing new plants from divided corms.
That is because the corms reproduce cormels that have a reproductive function, propagating corm-forming plants. Typically, one corm or gladiolus bulb can form one plant. But if the growing conditions are ideal, one gladiolus corm can produce up to 20 fist-size florets that will spread in your garden.
Also, digging out gladiolus corms may not be necessary if your area does not have harsh winters. Instead, leave the plants in the ground to form roots.
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Carla is a student pursuing a B.S in Agricultural Systems Technology. With a passion for landscaping for over 4 years, Carla loves plants. She has previously contributed to several other sites in the space before joining InsightWeeds.