Chinese Español - Gladiolus Info Page

Common name: Gladiolus - Family: Iridaceae

The genus Gladiolus contains about 260 species, of which 250 are native to sub-Saharan Africa, mostly South Africa. About 10 species are native to Eurasia. There are 160 species of Gladiols endemic in southern Africa and 76 in tropical Africa. The Gladiol species vary from very small to the spectacular giant flower spikes in commerce.

These attractive gladiol, perennial herbs are semi-hardy in temperate climates. Gladiols grow from rounded, symmetrical corms, that are enveloped in several layers of brownish, fibrous tunics. Gladiolus stems are generally unbranched, producing 1 to 9 narrow, sword-shaped, longitudinal grooved leaves, enclosed in a sheath. The lowest leaf is shortened to a cataphyll. The gladiol leaf blades can be plane or cruciform in cross section.

The fragrant gladiolus flower spikes are large and one-sided, with secund, bisexual flowers, each subtended by 2 leathery, green bracts. The sepals and the petals are almost identical in appearance, and are termed petals. Gladiols are united at their base into a tube-shaped structure. The dorsal petal is the largest, arching over the three stamens. The outer three petals are narrower. The perianth is funnel-shaped, with the stamens attached to its base. The style has three filiform, spoon-shaped branches, each expanding towards the apex.

Cultivation Info for Gladiols

In temperate zones, the gladiol corms of most species and hybrids should be lifted in autumn and stored over winter in a frost-free place, then replanted in spring. Some gladiolus species from Europe and high altitudes in Africa, as well as the small 'Nanus' hybrids, are much hardier (to at least -15°F/-26°C) and can be left in the ground in regions with sufficiently dry winters. Gladiol plants are propagated either from small cormlets produced as offsets by the parent corms, or from seed; in either case, they take several years to get to flowering size.

VWS Export - Import of Flowerbulbs BV is your Gladiolus specialist from Holland. Found out and read more on the website.