What to do with gladioli after flowering, according to Monty Don

Advice from the garden expert will breathe new life into these colorful blooms – but preparation is key

Red and purple gladioli flowers in a meadow
(Image credit: Jacky Parker Photography)

Glorious gladiolus may have blessed your garden throughout the summer season, but what should you do with the bulbs after they finish blooming? While this topic remains an annual debate amongst gardening enthusiasts (some choose to leave the bulb, while others dig) – we have sought the help of Monty Don, who has the answer. 

In the discussion of his autumnal garden ideas for The Guardian, the trusted presenter shares what you need to do when the inevitable happens. 

Here is what to do with gladioli after flowering, according to Monty Don – for new flowers that will bloom throughout the year ahead. 

What to do with gladioli after flowering, according to Monty Don

Gladioli flowers

(Image credit: Jacky Parker Photography)

While you may have already enjoyed gladioli's decadent tones over recent months, Monty's tips will ensure you can make the most of the species long into the future. However, to ensure they see new life, it is important to act after blooming. 

Monty suggests digging up the corms after flowering before storing them in a dark, dry, and cool environment. 'Corms should be dug up after flowering, dried, and stored in a cool, dark, dry place,' he begins. 

The exception is if your gladioli has suffered from bacterial blight – often a result of being grown on wet soils – in which case dig it up and discard the corm.

Baby pink gladioli

(Image credit: PhotoAlto/Odilon Dimier)

You may choose to rethink your greenhouse ideas, as this climate is ideal for storing corms over winter; when kept in a dark area. A cellar or conservatory is another suitable alternative, or you can store them in layers of newspaper. 

'They can be propagated from cormels – baby corms that grow off the parent and which come true to its variety. Let the corm and cormels dry out, and, the following February, they can be teased off the corm,' he instructs.

Monty then suggests planting the cormels 'an inch deep and an inch apart in a seed tray.' They may take a few years to flower, but when they do, you can treat them like other corms.

Beautiful pink Gladioli flowers in an English garden summer border

(Image credit: Jacky Parker Photography)

Plus, you don't need to store these corms for long; as Monty explains, gladioli planting season begins as early as March.

'Gladioli don't flower for long, so start planting corms at the end of March and do repeat plantings every fortnight till the end of May,' he says. When it comes to replanting, Monty recommends placing them 4-6 inches deep. Then, enjoy the vibrancy of your gladiolus once more. 

Monty's cottage garden idea will fill your exteriors with color time after time, but he doesn't stop there. His book The Complete Gardener will inspire your landscape – all year round. But don’t forget that you can also get new plants for free, all through propagation.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.