Gladioli are sword-like flowers that make up approximately 260 species. Of the species, about 250 of them are native to South Africa, in mostly the sub-Saharan portion. Gladioli come in a variety of colours and are often thought of to have bulbs. Gladioli, however, are not bulbs in the truest sense. Instead, the "bulbs" of gladioli are actually called corms. A corm is a thick, short portion of the stem, located at the plant's base.
When to Plant
When gladioli are planted, they can be cultivated either from seeds or from corms. If you can find corms that are ready to be planted, you can cultivate gladioli that way. Otherwise, you may have to plant the seeds, instead. Gladioli should be planted in early spring, and can be purchased at your local nursery or garden centre.
For Best Results
Plant your gladioli 4 to 6 inches deep. Plant corms about 2 inches apart and cover them with about 1/4 inch of soil. Plant corms in well-draining soil and keep it moist. Corms will typically bloom 8 to 10 weeks after planting.
Plant gladioli corms outside in a location that receives a fair amount of sun. Semi-hardy in climates that are temperate, and considered perennial, gladioli plants are attractive, with their vivid colours and sword-like appearance. They are also very fragrant.