Gladiolus bulbs (corms) are generally purchased in the spring and then planted after threats of frost are over at about 4” deep, spacing 3” to 6” apart. Loosening the soil and adding composted materials before planting then packing the soil firmly is a great way to get things off to a good start. Water thoroughly and be sure to plant in an area of full sun. When the flowers fade in late summer, cut them off at the stem allowing the rest of the plant to continue growing and building strength for next year.
It is true that Gladiolus corms are perennial but only in zones 7 or 8 so in Fort Wayne they must be dug up, dried and stored properly during the winter season. Sometime in late September/early October dig the entire plant out of the ground, cut back everything to within 1” from the corm, shake off the excess soil and allow the corms to lie around in the sun for 2 or 3 days to dry out. Shake off remaining soil and place the corms in trays or crates to “cure” for 2 weeks at warm temperatures.
Dusting the dried out corms with bulb dust or any other type of powdery fungicide will help to prevent diseases from coming back next season when you plant them. You can place the corms into a paper sack along with the fungicide dust and shake vigorously to get the dust evenly spread onto the corms. Then place the corms into paper bags or open cardboard boxes, onion sacks, etc. and store them in an area with temperatures around 35 to 46 degrees, such as a basement or unheated garage. Do not allow them to freeze.