Alphabetical Plant Listing

Learn How To Plant, Care and Grow Impressive Gladiolus Flowers

Sword-Lilies, Gladiolus grandiflorus, Gladiolus nanus, Gladiolus callianthus murielae, Abyssinian Sword Lily, Gladiolus communis ssp Byzanthinus, Byzantine Gladiolus

Symbols of moral integrity, strength of character, infatuation, sincerity and remembrance, Gladioli, also known as sword lilies, are cormous perennials boasting spectacular spikes of trumpet-shaped flowers in a surprisingly wide range of colors. Borne atop attractive fans of sword-shaped or linear leaves, they always provide a dramatic effect with their rich and cheerful colors and their breathtaking vertical lines. Easy to grow if some rules are followed, Gladiolus flowers deserve a spot in beds and borders, containers or in flower arrangements.

All you need to know about Gladiolus

  • Native to Africa, Europe, and the Mediterranean region, Gladiolus is a genus of about 300 species of flowering plants of the iris family (Iridaceae). Several species are widely cultivated for cut flowers and as garden ornamentals.
  • Gladioli are perennials that grow from bulb-like corms covered with a fibrous papery skin.
  • Gladioli typically produce a sword-like stem up to 2-6 ft. tall (50-180 cm), sporting trumpet-shaped flowers, sometimes with ruffled or frilled petals in a wide range of pastel or bright colors. 
  • Blooming from late spring until frost, depending on geographic area and species, Gladioli flower for 2 weeks or so, their blossoms opening in succession from the bottom up.
  • Some Gladiolus species and hybrids are hardy in hardiness zones 5, 6 or 7 and overwinter well as long as the soils is well-drained. Among them are the spring blooming Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus (Byzantine Gladiolus), the summer blooming Nanus and Dalenii Hybrids and the summer to fall blooming Gladiolus callianthus murielae (Abyssinian Sword Lily).
  • Other Gladiolus species and hybrids, including the popular Grandiflora hybrids, are winter hardy in zones 8-11, which means that their corms can be left in the ground year-round in those areas. If you live in zones 2-7, either you grow them as annuals and leave them in the ground, or you save your corms for next spring, dig them up before the first frost and store them over winter before replanting them next spring. Not sure about your growing zone? Check here.
  • Learn more about the various types of Gladioli before buying.
  • Gladioli grow back year after year and gently spread and multiply under good growing conditions, creating drifts of colorful flowers.
  • Gladiolus flowers attract hummingbirds. Gladioli are deer and rabbit resistant, but they are toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, and toxic to horses. Beware of mice, squirrels, chipmunks, voles, and gophers: they love the gladiolus corms!


1. Choose The Right Gladiolus Corms

  • Choose corms that are large, firm, and plump.
  • The size of the corms is highly correlated to the height of the spike and the number of florets per spike. The larger the corm, the bigger the plant and more spectacular the flowers.
  • Moreover, large corms will typically bloom about 10-15 days ahead of medium‐sized corms. Smaller sizes usually require 3-4 weeks longer than the larger sizes.
  • Flower bulbs are measured in centimeters around the broadest circumference of the bulb. The optimum size for Large and Medium Flowered Gladioli corms is 12-14 cm. Small Flowered Gladioli corms have an optimum size of 8 cm.

Guide Information

Plant Type Bulbs
Plant Family Gladiolus - Sword Lilies
Characteristics Cut Flowers
Compare All Gladiolus - Sword Lilies Great Plant Combination Ideas with Gladiolus - Sword Lilies Guides with Gladiolus - Sword Lilies

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Plant Type Bulbs
Plant Family Gladiolus - Sword Lilies
Characteristics Cut Flowers
Compare All Gladiolus - Sword Lilies Great Plant Combination Ideas with Gladiolus - Sword Lilies Guides with Gladiolus - Sword Lilies

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