How to look after Gladioli

Have you ever wondered how to look after gladioli? If you're buying British this summer, now’s the time to think about gladioli.  These lovely long-stemmed flowers are now available from your local supermarket, street markets and of course your High Street florist.

Looking after your gladioli

If you’re adding gladioli to your weekly shop here are some handy tips to get the most out of your buy.

  1. Buy stems with only a few flowers beginning to open. That way you’ll get to enjoy your flowers from bud to full bloom – you’ll have them at home for longer, making them really good value for money.
  2. Once home re-cut your stems at an angle and throw away any excess leaves, they’ll peel away really easily in your hand.
  3. Place your flowers in a vase of tepid water – not too hot, not too cold. Add flower food if you have it. If not, don’t worry – but do make sure your vase is really clean.  Any dirt or bacteria will shorten the life of your flowers.
How to look after Gladioli
How to look after Gladioli

Over the next few days your gladioli will start to come into bloom, with the lower flowers maturing first. Take a look at this video if you'd like a reminder of how to condition your gladioli.

What next?

Every few days you’ll need to wash out your vase and fill it with fresh water.  At the same time you’ll need to re-cut your stems again – to make sure your flowers are taking up water as efficiently as possible - and pinch off any blooms that have passed their best.

Leave your tips intact

Over time you might find the tips of your gladioli begin to bend over.  One train of thought is that you should snap off your tip ends to encourage the lower florets on your stems to open.  Having seen Jonathan Moseley demonstrate at Hampton Court RHS flower show earlier this summer his advice is that you should keep your tips intact. 

Removing your gladioli tips has no impact on whether or not your full stem comes into flower. However, if the waviness bothers you – go right ahead and gently snap your tips off.

How to look after Gladioli
How to look after Gladioli

How to arrange your gladioli

Being such a tall flower gladioli look great arranged in a vase to accentuate their length.  I favour a narrow necked glass vase, which will keep your flowers upright - rather than allowing them to splay out. If you’re planning to add your gladioli to other flowers then chose a wider-necked vase, and allow your flowers to be less constrained.

How long will your gladioli last?

Provided you bought your gladioli with just some colour showing in the lower buds, and have followed the advice above your flowers should last a good week.  Over time, they’ll change from green spears to heavy overladen blooms.  If it all gets to much, you could always thin out your stems by pinching out some of the florets to reduce the visual (and actual) weight of your gladioli.

The photos in this blog post show how your gladioli will change over time.

Until next time, happy flowers!


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How to look after Gladioli
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