How to Plant Orchid & Gladiola Bulbs


Gladiolas, or glads, are tall, sensitive garden plants that grow only in warm areas. In colder areas, glads grow through the summer but require winter protection. Orchids are sensitive tropical plants that don’t like bright sunlight and should never grow outside. Both plants, grown from bulbs or corms, require specific planting considerations. To grow both of these striking, colorful plants–especially in cold zones–plant the bulbs in pots and raise them as houseplants.

Moderately Easy


things you’ll need:
  • 3- and 6-inch pots
  • Orchid potting mix/peat moss
  • Quick-draining soil
  • Organic compost
  • Fertilizer
    1. Plant both glads and orchids at any time of the year when you’re growing them indoors, using heavy 3- to 6-inch pots with drainage holes. Both plants require quick drainage and will fail in standing water. Make sure the pots are heavy enough to support glads, which grow lush foliage and long flower stalks.
    2. Fill 3-inch pots three-quarters full with peat moss or orchid potting mix. These flowers require extremely good drainage and air circulation around their roots, and suffer in standard potting mixes or heavy soils. Place bulbs on the peat moss or orchid mix, then fill the pots the rest of the way with growing substrate.
    3. Mix quick-draining soil and organic compost in equal parts for your glads. These plants like rich, nutritious soil that drains quickly but holds moisture. Fill 6-inch pots with this mixture, then add 8-8-8 fertilizer to the top 2 inches of soil. Plant the bulbs every 3 to 6 inches in wide pots, 3 to 4 inches deep, with the pointed sides up.
    4. Water both orchids and glads with 2 inches of water, then put the orchids in a north- or south-facing window, where they’ll get indirect morning sun and afternoon shade. Put glads outside during summer or in bright windows, where they’ll get eight hours of natural light every day. You can also grow both of these plants under artificial lights in rooms where the lights are on for six to eight hours a day.

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