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Gladiolus Growing Guide

Tall, elegant and definitely stylish, Gladiolus (Gladys) are ideal floral centrepieces in both the garden and the vase. Once thought of as old-fashioned, these regal bulbs are finding new homes in gardens all over New Zealand. Grown for their amazing flowers, Gladys are perfect for picking. Little else has the form and structure that these plants do. Gladys come in a huge number of varieties and colours featuring most shades of the rainbow.

3 steps to planting gladiolus 


Plant Gladys in full sun in a well-drained fertile soil. Protect from winds, as these plants have a very shallow root system and can easily blow over when in bloom if they become top heavy. Be prepared to stake the flower stems if you are planning to pick the blooms.

Some favourite varieties to look our for are Goldstruck, Limerick, Melody, Mirella, Stromboli, The Bride and Tui Dollar.

Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and Tui Compost to your soil. Then you can add a layer of Tui Bulb Mix. To help with flowering, use a side-dressing at planting time of Tui Bulb Food. Check individual planting instructions. Plant each bulb twice the width of the bulb. Always water well after planting.


The best times to plant are early in the morning, or late in the day so the plants aren't exposed to the hot sun straight away. Always water plants well before and after planting.

Directions for planting in garden beds

  • Water plants thoroughly before planting and allow to drain.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole.
  • Fill in with Tui Bulb Mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

Directions for potting plants

  • Water plants thoroughly before potting and allow to drain.
  • Half fill your container with Tui Bulb Mix.
  • Gently take the plant from the current container, loosen the root ball and remove any loose or dead plant material and roots.
  • Position the plant in the centre of the new container and fill with Tui Bulb Mix up to 3cm from the top.
  • Gently firm mix around the base of the plant. The mix should be at the same level on the plant as it was in the previous container.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.


Feed your plants and they will reward you. Replenishing the nutrients used by your plants ensures your plants grow to their full potential. Feed your Gladiolus with Tui Bulb Food or use an all-purpose variety such as Tui NovaTec® Premium Fertiliser. Fertilise at planting time and again in spring to ensure a blooming display.

A well-watered, well-nourished garden will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay. While your Gladiolus are growing regularly apply a dose of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to give them a welcome boost.

Cut the stem at least 20cm below the bottom of the flower. Leave the leaves on the bulb to die away naturally; this enables the plant to continue to feed the bulb for next seasons flower.

Gladys last in a vase for over a week; once picked the blooms continue to open. If you want to speed up the blooms’ opening (or an event or show), place stems in a vase of warm water and place near a heater for an hour or two.