To stake a gladiolus flower, begin by inserting a sturdy stake (made of weather-resistant material such as bamboo) approximately six inches behind a growing gladiolus. Tether the plant's stem to the stake below the lowest ring of flowers with tied loops of a soft, flexible material like pantyhose, giving about an inch of slack.
Gladiolus flowers form in dense cones that become top heavy as they mature and have a tendency to fall over in heavy rains or winds. Ample space of at least 6 inches between plants should be used while planning a gladiolus garden, as one fallen flower cone can start a stem-snapping domino effect. A low trellis can be used to support several gladiolus plants at once, in turn offering additional protection against heavy winds that might pull up a single stake.
Gladiolus flowers should not be staked until they begin to bloom, as tying the plants too early can stunt growth by restricting nutrients flowing to the corm (the underground bulb from which the gladiolus grows). To keep a gladiolus blooming with bright colors, dead or withered flowers should be gently pinched off with the fingertips to make room for new growth. Gladiolus corms can be dug up in autumn for gardens in zones 7b or colder to store them over the winter.