The Q&A Archives: Invasive Gladiolus

Question: Help! We're being overrun by gladiolus! When we bought our house two years ago, the only flowers in the yard were iris, roses & pink gladiolus. We've since greatly expanded the variety. My problem is the gladiolus have been here for many years and have created several hundred of the offshoot corms. I keep pulling up the new stalks when they break ground, but I'm not always able to get the actual corm. Will they eventually die out this way? Or am I doomed to this invasion of pink gladiolus forever?

Answer: Sounds like you have too much of a good thing! Technically, you're correct - if you keep the foliage cut off, the roots will eventually run out of energy and won't produce additional leaves. But realistically, the glad corms have lots of stored energy and as soon as the leaves emerge they'll begin the process of photosynthesis, which provides energy to the corms. The best course of action to to dig the bed, remove all the baby corms and replant only those glads that you want to keep. A second method would be to place weed barrier (either purchased or made of several thicknesses of newspaper) over the bed where you don't want foliage to emerge. If you can keep the leaves from reaching the sunlight or sunlight from reaching the leaves, eventually the corms will run out of energy. But, that won't stop the existing glads from developing offshoots. You may have to dig the bed every 2-3 years to remove unwanted corms!

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