Gladiolus (Sword lily)

Gladiolus are popular garden plants. They are grown for their showy flowers produced mainly from spring to early autumn.

There are over ten thousand hybrids and cultivars produced for garden cultivation, cutting and exhibiting.

Common name: Sword lily
Scientific name: Gladiolus

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They are divided in three main groups:

  • Grandiflorus group
    This group flowers during summer. Each corm produces one spike 50-90cm (20-36in) long with as many as 28 buds.
    Gladiolus in Gradiflorus group are classified into 5 sizes determined by the diameter of the bottom flower:
    Giant: 14cm or more
    Large: 11-14cm
    Medium: 9-11cm
    Small: 6-9cm
    Miniature: 3.5-5cm
  • Nanus group
    Nanus gladioli flower in early summer and are ideal for cutting. Each corm produces two or three spikes, 22-35cm (9-14in) long. Each spike bears up to 7 buds of loosely arrange flowers.
  • Primulinus group
    This group flowers from ealy to late summer. Each corm produces one thin stem 30-60cm (12-24in) long which bears as many as 23 buds.

How to plant gladiolus

Gladioli should be cultivated in full sun in fertile and well drained soils. Plant the corms in spring 10-16cm (4-6in) deep adding a bed of sharp sand or grit to improve drainage. Plant in clumps in mixed borders or in rows for cut flowers.

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