How Should I Overwinter Gladiolus in Southern Florida?

“We live in Miami and planted gladiolus bulbs this spring. They bloomed beautifully! How are we supposed to cut them, so they bloom next spring? Should we dig them up or just cut the leaves?” Question from Brenda of Miami Florida

Answer: Gladiolus hybrids will thrive year-round as perennials in your Miami garden (USDA Hardiness Zone 10), so they don’t need to be dug up in fall. Cut back the foliage as it starts to turn yellow. The plants will experience some dormancy before putting forth new foliage and then flowers.

Gladiolus species are native to Africa, Southern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and garden hybrids are mixes of quite a few species from these areas. Where native, gladiolus undergo either a cold-season or dry-season dormant period. Because you have very little seasonal cold, the main thing that will kill your glads is excessive soil moisture during dormancy. So, make sure that their soil is fast draining and very porous. Plant them in light soil that is raised and well amended with organic matter, such as Black Gold Peat Moss. You may also want to amend further with a mineral additive, such as Gran-I-Grit or even sand, to further increase drainage. Over time, happy gladiolus can naturalize in southern gardens.

Some of my favorite glads are heirlooms with old-fashioned charm (click here for a good source). I also love the elegant Byzantine gladiolus (Gladiolus communis ssp. byzantinus), which is a species bearing long-blooming spires of purple-red summer flowers.

I hope that this information helps!

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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