Few things will brighten a home faster, and with such vibrancy, than a beautiful bunch of gladioli – or ‘glads’ as they’ve become affectionately known. Majestic towers of colour, they are certainly no wallflowers. But these seemingly robust blooms will need some special care and attention if you are to get the best from them and enjoy their beauty for longer.
Time it right
When you are buying your blooms, choose blooms that are not yet fully open to enjoy your spoils for longer. Growers usually harvest them in the morning or evening when it's cooler so that they will last longer.
Remove the leaves from the bottom of the spike – in other words, any foliage that would be submerged under the water in your vase, as this can lead to rotting and cause the water to stagnate more quickly. Make sure you also rinse the stems before putting them in the vase to also cleanse them from any bacteria they could pick up during transet.
Cut about an inch from the base of the stem using a sharp non-serrated knife, with a single clean cut as ragged, frayed ends can lead to decay. Do this while your flowers are submerged under water to prevent air bubbles, which can be drawn up the stem and block the water supply. Cut at an angle to increase the surface area of the base of the stem to allow maximum absorption of water.
Feed your flowers
Dissolve some cut-flower food in your vase water: as well as feeding the flowers, this will also help keep the water clean as it contains an anti-bacterial treatment. Changing your water every now and then also helps to keep them longer.
Choose the right spot
Although a warm room will encourage your gladioli to open, once fully opened, switch to a cool spot away from direct sunlight, heaters and draughts, as these will cause your blooms to dehydrate. If a floret does begin to look a little worse for wear, remove it to prevent it bringing the rest down with it.
Find out more about the Gladiolus's symbolism and trivia in our guide.