Form and Size:
The stems of gladiola are very thick and can reach 4 feet in height. The stem resembles a spike with 10 – 16 blooms on one side. Gladiola blooms are usually 2 – 5 inches in length. Blooms can be trumpet shaped, tulip shaped or rosebud shaped and can have ruffles, fringe or be smooth.
6 – 10 days
year-round though it peaks from mid-spring - fall
Remove any leaves at the bottom of the stem, cut under water and place in fresh water with flower food.
History and Usage:
A member of the Iridaceae (iris) family, gladiola originated in South Africa. Its botanical name, gladiolus, comes from the word gladius which is Latin for sword. This is in reference to the shape of the stalk when none of the flowers have bloomed or the sword shaped foliage. Gladiola are very commonly used in sympathy arrangements because they add height and beauty. Since smaller varieties have come out, gladiola are being used in other contemporary arrangements.
Points of Interest:
Relatives of gladiola include iris, freesia, crocus, ixia and watsonia. Gladiola are grown from corms, not bulbs. The corms are actually edible and are said to taste like roasted chestnuts.