Growing Gladiolus in Containers: A Guide to Planting Gladiolus Bulbs in Pots

Q: I love gladioli and would like to have some of my own in my plot. However, as it is a paved courtyard, I would have to grow them in containers. Is this possible, and if so, are there any tips I need to know before I get started?.

Yes, structural gladioli with their big flowers really stand out. They’re also easy to grow in borders and pots. Growing them in pots can actually be helpful because it can make it easier to give them the water and light they need.

These summer bulbs make enough of an impact to be planted just by themselves. You could also pair them with bright plants like crocosmia, cannas, or coleus, which look great in a tropical garden.

With their tall dramatic flower spikes in vibrant colors gladiolus are stunning additions to gardens. Typically grown in flower beds and borders, gladiolus can also be grown successfully in pots and containers.

Growing gladiolus in containers is a great option if garden space is limited. Container plantings allow gladiolus to be moved to spotlight their colors against backdrops like walls and fences. And potted plantings help protect gladiolus corms from poor, heavy soils.

Follow this guide to the ins and outs of planting gladiolus bulbs in pots for a gorgeous container display.

Choosing the Right Container

Gladiolus grow from a corm, which is the bulb-like structure that stores nutrients over the winter. The corms send up tall flowering stems so gladiolus need deep containers.

  • Select a container at least 12 inches (30 cm) deep. This provides room for the corm soil below it and the stem above it.

  • Wider is better for stability. Choose a pot with a diameter around 12 inches (30 cm).

  • Make sure the container has drainage holes. Stagnant moisture will rot gladiolus corms.

  • Clay, ceramic, plastic, and wood containers all work well. Match to your site and style.

  • For a continuous show, plant groups of 3-5 corms in a larger 18-24 inch (45-60 cm) container.

The Best Potting Mix

Gladiolus prefer sandy, well-draining soils. Create this environment in containers by using a potting mix formulated for corms and bulbs.

  • Use a commercial corm and bulb planting mix if available. These are peat-based and light.

  • A general potting soil amended with sand or perlite will also work well.

  • Mix in a tablespoon or two of slow-release bulb fertilizer per gallon of soil.

  • Soilless potting mixes work better than garden soils, which can compact and get waterlogged.

Planting Depth and Spacing

Plant large gladiolus corms 3-5 inches (7-12 cm) deep in containers. Smaller corms can be planted 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) deep.

  • Set corms in the soil with the flattened side down. The pointed end should face up.

  • Space corms 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) apart for proper air circulation and stem support.

  • In larger pots, place corms near the edges so stems can lean on the container for support.

  • Cover corms completely with potting mix. Water well after planting to settle the soil.

Caring for Potted Gladiolus

Gladiolus require full sun and consistent moisture while actively growing and blooming.

  • Place containers in full sun locations with at least 6 hours of direct light daily.

  • Check soil moisture weekly by sticking a finger into the top few inches of soil. Water whenever the top 1-2 inches become dry.

  • Feed monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer to support the many blooms produced.

  • Stake taller varieties to keep them upright. Use bamboo stakes and soft plant ties.

  • Remove spent flowers but leave the foliage until it turns yellow. This allows the corms to take in nutrients.

Overwintering Gladiolus Corms

Gladiolus corms are not fully hardy in areas with freezing winters. The corms need to be lifted and stored over winter.

  • Allow foliage to die back completely after blooming finishes.

  • Remove dead leaves, stems, and soil from corms. Discard any soft or damaged corms.

  • Place clean, firm corms in paper bags or mesh bags. Store in a cool, dry spot around 40°F (4°C).

  • Keep corms in a single layer during storage. Discard old, depleted corms in spring. Replant vigorous corms.

  • Stored properly, healthy corms can be overwintered for 2-3 years before needing replacement.

Tips for the Best Container Gladiolus

Follow these tips for success in growing gladiolus in pots:

  • Plant new, top-grade corms each season for the biggest blooms on strong stems.

  • Choose smaller flowered dwarf varieties under 3 feet for containers. Taller types may topple.

  • Start a new container every 2-3 weeks from spring through midsummer for continuous blooms.

  • Mix in a slow release fertilizer at planting time. Supplement monthly with liquid feeds.

  • Remove spent blooms but leave foliage until it dies down for the healthiest corms next season.

Enjoying Gladiolus as Container Accents

With their spires of colorful, ruffled blooms, gladiolus make exceptional container plants. They combine beautifully with annuals and add bold vertical punches of color.

By selecting an appropriate pot, providing rich soil, and caring consistently for their needs, you can succeed in growing gladiolus in containers. Place them prominently to enjoy these striking flowers all season long.

Frequency of Entities:
gladiolus – 25
container – 16
corm – 16
bulb – 7
pot – 14
plant – 4
soil – 8

Problems to look out for when growing gladioli in pots

Although relatively pest- and disease-free, watch out for slugs and snails feasting on young shoots, warns Camilla. Use pest control that is safe for pets, like the Sluggo Plus Wildlife- and Pet-Safe Slug Killer you can buy on Amazon, to get rid of them.

Fungal diseases can affect plants during periods of cool, wet weather, she adds. To get rid of these, give plants lots of room to grow so they have good air flow and use a fungicide like Garden Safe fungicide, which you can also get on Amazon.

Feeding and watering gladioli in pots

Keep the potting soil damp but not saturated, says Camilla.

When the flower spikes begin to form, you can begin to feed the plants. For best results, use a high-potassium fertilizer like Burpee Organic Tomato and Vegetable Granular Plant Food or Espoma Organic Concentrated Tomato Fertilizer, both of which you can buy on Amazon.

Once they have finished flowering, reduce watering, then keep them dry during the dormant season, says the RHS.

Fertilizing these plants will encourage beautiful blooms( credit: iBulb)

Gladiolus Lovers: Plant Gladiolus Bulbs in Containers the Right Way ✨


Do gladioli grow well in pots?

All varieties of gladioli can successfully be grown in medium to large pots and containers, but the miniature butterfly hybrids (Nanus group) and the Primulinus group are better suited to this, due their smaller size and pleasing fragrance.

What is the best month to plant gladiolus?

Plant into a sunny site in early spring (late March-mid April) for flowering in June or plant in autumn in a cold frame (as an early cut flower crop). You can also plant 5 corms into a 15cm (6in) pot, 6cm (2in) deep.

Can Gladiolus bulbs be grown in pots?

If you desire to grow gladiolus bulbs in pots, you will first need to choose a variety of glad types that you would like to plant. Growing smaller plants works best in a container because they are shorter and will have less of a chance to break as opposed the larger varieties.

How do you plant Gladiolus bulbs?

Planting gladiolus bulbs in pots requires a well-draining soil mix and a pot at least 12 inches deep. Place the bulbs 3-4 inches apart and cover with 4 inches of soil. Position the pot in a sunny location and water moderately. Ensure a temperature range of 60-75°F for optimal growth. Are you looking for a way to brighten up your home or garden?

Can Gladiolus grow in a container?

The container needs to be deep enough for the bulb and have enough good quality potting soil to cover the bulb. The bulbs need to have 2 inches (5 cm.) of soil beneath them. Add some gravel to the bottom of the container to ensure the drainage of water. Gladiolus cannot sit in waterlogged soil. Again, if this should happen, the bulb will rot.

When to plant Gladiolus bulbs?

Gladiolus bulbs are planted in spring after the last possible frost in your area. The soil should be around 55°F. If you plant when the soil is too cold, the bulbs may rot before they have a chance to sprout. Before planting, inspect the bulbs you have to ensure they look healthy and are free of disease or pests.

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