What is Gladioli?
Gladioli (Gladiolus x hybrid) also known as Sword Lilies are a cormous flowering perennial. It is part of the Iridaceae or iris family and the genus Gladiolus contains around 180 species with a distribution spanning Europe, Western Asia and South Africa. The name sword lilies comes from their foliage which can be sword to grassy in shape depending on the variety. The flowers are borne aloft on tall flower spikes where funnel shaped flowers appear in a huge range of colours. The flowers start opening from the bottom of the stem. Flowering during Spring in warmer regions and through Summer in cooler temperate regions, Gladioli can be planted every 4-6 weeks throughout the season to provide a staggered display of colour. When planting, have them placed in a full sun position that is protected from the strong wind.
Benefits of Growing Gladioli
Gladioli are an easy to grow and maintain corm. They are fabulous planted in garden beds, especially as tall background plants. Gladioli can be planted every 4-6 weeks throughout the season to provide a staggered display of colour. The tall flower spikes make them ideal cut flowers and they are a great addition to any flower arrangement. For long vase life, flowers should be picked as the first floret opens.
How to Grow Gladioli
Cool to tropical.
Height: 1.5m, Width: 15cm
When To Plant Gladioli
Plant in Spring.
Light, well drained soil is ideal but they will tolerate quite heavy soils as long as they are not water logged. Dig through a little blood and bone, some well broken down cow manure or a complete fertilizer before planting.
How To Plant Gladioli
Plant in full sun, 8-15cm apart with the corms 10 to 15cm underneath the soil surface. Plant the corm with the flat side facing down.
Gladioli Plant Care
Keep moist whilst growing. They do not like boggy ground or being water logged.
Top dress with a complete fertiliser just before flowering.
Many people lift gladioli corms over Winter to prevent the corms from rotting in wet periods. However they may be left undisturbed in the ground for many years. If you do lift the corms then they can be dug up 4–6 weeks after flowering or as soon as the leaves yellow. After digging, store in a cool, dark, dry, airy place and dust with an insecticide to prevent thrips.
Aphids and thrips are the main problem. Dust with an insecticide if thrip damage is noticed (streaking of leaves, damage of flowers), and if problem persists, make sure new corms are planted in a different part of the garden. NB: Extreme heat can cause similar symptoms to thrip damage on flowers.
Recommended Gladioli Varieties
With large flower spikes in a huge range of colours gladioli are fantastic bulbs to bring colour to your Summer garden.