I live in Victoria BC Canada on Vancouver Island, zone 7-8. I have grown several years worth of gladiola bulbs, and know that in my area I do not have to lift them each fall. However, as they get older (3 years) the leaves seem quite shredded with vertical holes in them, and also get lots of little shoots coming up beside the major one that usually blooms. Any suggestions as to what might be happening?
Working With Gladiola Bulbs
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
It sounds like they may need dividing. Even if they do not need to be dug up for the winter, every other year or so, you will want to dig them up and separate the "babies" from the mother corm. Those small shoots you see on the sides are leaves from immature corms and this is one of the ways the plant reproduces. All you need to do is gently break them apart and replant them with a little space between each corm, whether they are the mature or immature corms. The immature corms will start to bloom a year or so later.
Right now, all of the corms, the mothers and the babies, are growing right on top of one another. This can cause damage to the leaves and make it hard for them to take up the nutrients to bloom well.