A staging system for development of gladiola (Gladiolus × grandiflorus) that relies on simple, visual, non-destructive criteria is proposed. Four field trials were conducted during the spring 2010, autumn/winter 2011 and winter 2011 at Santa Maria, RS, Brazil, with different gladiola cultivars, in order to observe the developmental stages of the above-ground parts and their dry matter. The developmental cycle, which starts at dormant corm and ends with plant senescence, is divided into four developmental phases: dormancy phase, sprouting phase (from filiform roots appearance to sheaths appearance), vegetative phase (from emergence of the first leaf tip to emergence of the final leaf tip on the stem) and reproductive phase (from heading to plant senescence). The developmental stages that were identified during the dormancy phase and during the sprouting phases are coded as S stages: S0 = dormant corm, S1 = appearance of roots, S2.1 = first sheath, S2.2 = second sheath and S2.3 = third sheath. Vegetative phase is coded as V stages: VE = emergence of the sheaths above ground, V1 = first leaf, V2 = second leaf, Vn = nth leaf and VF = flag leaf. Leaf tip is the marker for V1–VF. The developmental stages during the reproductive phases are coded as R stages: R1 = heading, R2 = blooming, R3 = onset of flowering, R4 = end of anthesis, R5 = end of florets senescence and R6 = plant senescence (leaves and floret axis are brown). Sub-stages have also been assigned between R1 and R2 and between R3 and R4. Illustrations (photographs) of each developmental stage taken from field pot-grown plants are provided and the proposed scale was tested with field observations. These criteria are straight forward and allow for quick determination of development stage. This system can be used by both farmers and for experimental trials.