Sword Lily Gladiolus palustris

Rough draft 9/16/2021


Pick your favorite color(s) with this flower. Sometimes called a sword lilly the gladiolus comes in all shades light or bright  red, orange, yellow purple, pink, and white, When I was a child growing up mt parents had these tall orange gladiolas that would pop up every summer, when I started my own flower garden the color I chose to grow and enjoy was dark violet. One of my all time favorite flowers to grow. Living in the Pacific Northwest in Western Washington i didn’t have to worry about watering these too much or too often. There is usually 30 days of sun after the fourth of July, only then did keep an eye on the heat and water needs because these are a blooming summer flower.

How to Plant and Care

Sun / Water

Gladiolus are purchased not as seeds but they look like bulbs yet they are called corms. Gladiolus are perennials so they will come back every year.  Many gardeners plant these at the beginning of spring after the last frost and it takes about 90 days from first planting to flowers in full bloom. If you have a large number of corms a new batch can be planted every 10 days up until the beginning of July for wonderful  blooms into the fall. These flowers grow best in full sun, in molst well draining soil. Checking the soil by touch is the best way to tell when the gladiolas need to be watered. Mulching around the shoots is a good way to keep the soil moist during hot days in the summer.


Some gardeners have shared tips for planting gladiolus. First they like to soak their corms the night before in just regular tap water other like to use purified water. Second, corms need to be planted deeper.  Each planting hole should be 8” – 10” deep, this helps also it the stalks grow high to keep them standing on their own. Staking my need to take place if the stalks start to fall. If choosing to cut the flowers for a vase or flower arrangement leave the flat green leave or stalks as they continue to grow this helps fortify the corms through the summer. Continue watering as needed and the best time to clan up the extra foliage is when it turns brown. Just pull away to clean up. It’s not imperative to dig up the corms every fall and replant in the spring, the flowers will regrow the following year where they were planted. If you want to dig them up to move them or to replant make sure the dry out for a week and keep them in a dry cool place through the winter months.  


A shortened name for this flower is glads. Glads grow to be anywhere from 2 – 5 feet tall. With this height glads can make a beautiful backdrop with shorter flowers grown in front within a flower garden. Choose a flower garden or plant  along or as  a boarder. Gladiolus can even be planted in a container garden to enjoy.

Resource links



Leave a Comment