Gladiolus Bloom Stages: What to Expect

The gladiolus is a well-known flowering plant that produces beautiful flowers. The three-foot tall flower spikes are iconic, and many gardeners aspire to have this gorgeous plant growing in their backyard.

If you are growing a gladiolus, it is vital to know the different gladiolus bloom stages. Understanding the different stages can give the plant the care it needs to maximize the blooms and keep it healthy in the long run.

Keep reading to learn everything you need about the gladiolus bloom stages and how to care for this beautiful plant.

What Is a Gladiolus?

Gladiolus Bloom Stages

The gladiolus is a flowering plant known as the ‘sword lily.’ The plant got its nickname because of the long, thin leaves that resemble swords. The gladiolus is a member of the Iris family and is native to South Africa.

The plant grows from a corm, which is similar to a bulb. Corms are easy to grow and can be started indoors or outdoors. Some people recommend soaking gladiolus bulbs before planting. 

The gladiolus blooms in various colors, including white, yellow, orange, pink, red, and purple. The flowers grow on spikes that can be up to three feet tall.

The gladiolus is popular for bouquets and cut flowers because of its long vase life. Once the gladiolus blooms, the flowers can last up to two weeks in a vase.

Different Bloom Stages

There are several different gladiolus bloom stages. The bloom stages come after the proliferation stage and before the rejuvenation stage.


The first stage of gladiolus bloom is called the ‘stretch.’ The stretch is when the plant grows vertically, and the leaves begin to elongate. This period of blooming can take between two weeks and three months.

During this stage, the flower prepares to bloom. You must give your gladiolus a sufficient amount of water. Additionally, you must carefully control the sun and the heat it receives. Too much sunlight and heat will cause the plant to go straight to seed and skip blooming altogether.

Bud Formation

After the stretch stage, the gladiolus will begin to bud. Bud formation is when the plant forms a flower bud at the top of the stem. The bud will be small and oval-shaped at first.

As the bud continues to grow, it will become more elongated. The bud will also start to change color, going from green to the color of the eventual flower. For example, if your gladiolus is white, the bud will turn from green to white.

During this stage, the plant needs less water, and you should keep it in a cool dark place.

Flower Development 

The next gladiolus bloom stage is when the bud begins to open, and the flower develops. This process can take anywhere from four days to two weeks.

As the bud begins to open, the petals will start to unfurl. Once the petals are fully open, the gladiolus will bloom.

At this point, you can move the plant to a brighter location. However, it would be best if you still were careful not to expose it to too much direct sunlight.


Once the gladiolus blooms, you will need to deadhead the plant. Deadheading is when you remove the spent flowers from the plant.

You can do this by cutting the flower stem at the base of the plant. It is vital to remove the spent flowers because they can drain the plant’s energy.

Wrap Up  

The gladiolus is a beautiful flowering plant that is easy to grow. The plant blooms in various colors and can last up to two weeks in a vase.

Now you know the four different gladiolus bloom stages and have the knowledge to take care of your plant properly.