The gladiolus is a sen sational summer flower that thrives in the sun and heat. It is also the birth flower for the month of August. Gladioli (or gladiolas) are known for their height (up the three feet tall) and bright flowers. With sturdy stalks covered in blossoms that come in almost every shade imaginable, these plants are ideal for summer and add quite the statement to any yard. Of course, because of their height, they usually need to be held up with stakes to prevent drooping. The gladiolus is beautiful in the garden as well as in a bouquet. Because of their striking sword-like appearance, they add dimension to any floral arrangement.
Gladioli are sometimes called “sword lilies” and have very sharp leaves. The word “gladiolus” actually comes from the Latin “gladius,” which means “sword.” These magnificent perennials come back year after year but, instead of blooming from a bulb, they grow from a corm. The gladiolus is a member of the iris family and is also the preferred flower for 40th wedding anniversaries.
Sometimes referred to as “glads,” gladioli represent strength and courage, and, in the language of flowers, the gladiolus symbolizes remembrance. Because they have such intense, full leaves at the base of the stem, they must be planted deep so they don’t easily uproot and tip over. The first 300 or so species of the genus “Gladiolus” “originated in South Africa and the Mediterranean region.”
Tips for Making Bouquets
“Mars red gladiolus sang Ode to Joy.” –Henri Cole
Make any arrangement stand out with tropical-looking gladioli! Gladioli make the most stunning bouquets—whether on their own or as filler for arrangements comprised of other flowers. For their sheer size and one-sided blossoms (that come in all colors), gladioli are truly striking and make an opulent statement. Here are some helpful tips for cutting and arranging gladioli:
- Cut the flower stalks either early in the morning or at dusk, rather than during the hottest part of the day.
- Cut the stalks with only one or two open blossoms. This way, the rest of the buds will open when you put them in water.
- Don’t forget to pluck off the wilting flowers every few days.
- Trim the stalks daily (just an inch or so).
More than just a Pretty Plant
“The British and Mediterranean gladiolus plants were often used for medicinal purposes.” The base of the stem or “corms” was used by the English as bandages. Colic was also treated using the corms (after they were crushed, powdered, and mixed with goat’s milk). Be careful, though, as parts of the gladiolus are poisonous.
For more information about the gladiolus plant mentioned in this blog, consult the links below:
For all your floral needs, check out Chelsea Flowers in London and their website here.
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