Cutting Gladiolus Leaves: Tips For Trimming Leaves On Gladiolus

Tall green stalks of gladiolus with lovely pink flowers.
Image by Basya555

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Gladiolus provides tall, spiky, summertime blooms that are so spectacular, it’s difficult to believe that “glads” are so easy to grow. However, although glads don’t require a ton of attention, it’s important to know about various ways of cutting back gladiolus leaves and when to cut back gladiolus. Read on for simple tips on pruning back gladiolus.

Pruning Back Gladiolus via Pinching

Pinching, a way of pruning back gladiolus, is a task that you should do throughout the blooming season to keep the plant neat and healthy. To pinch glads, just remove faded glad blooms with your fingertips or garden shears.

Pinching wilted blooms will encourage the opening of the remaining buds on the stalk. Additionally, some gardeners like to remove the top, unopened bud to speed up the blooming process for all of the buds up and down the stalk.

How to Trim Gladiolus by Pruning Blooming Stems


Remove the entire blooming stem once all the buds on the stem have opened and faded. To complete this step, use pruners or shears to cut the stalk near the ground. Don’t remove the leaves; this step comes later in the season. Removing the foliage too early can affect the plant’s ability to bloom in the future.

Trimming Leaves on Gladiolus

So what about removing the foliage? Cut the leaves to the ground when they die down and turn yellow in late summer. It may be tempting to remove the wilting leaves earlier, but doing so will deprive the corms of nutrients provided by the leaves via photosynthesis.

You can also cut back any remaining stems at this time.

Now that you know the best times and methods for pruning back gladiolus plants, you can expect nicer blooms and healthier growth each season moving forward.

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