Although the springtime brings us a large variety of fresh plants and flowers, some plants can only be planted during the spring season and so they will bloom during the middle and late parts of summer. One such flower is the gladiolus. They are grown from corms and can only be planted under the right conditions that spring brings. Gladiolus flowers are popular both as garden and cut flowers. Many people include them in their bouquets when they send flowers for a special occasion. You should have no problem finding these festive blooms at your florist.
Gladiolus flowers were also given the name xiphium which is derived from the Greek word xiphos which means sword. For this reason many people also refer to this plant as a sword lily. There are approximately 260 different species of gladiolus flowers. Only 10 of these have been found in Europe and Asia while the rest are native to Africa. South Africa is home to the majority of African gladioli.
The gladiolus flower can grow as tall as 4 feet so this makes them ideal for large and / or tall arrangements. They grow flowers along the stem but only on one side so, when positioning them in a bouquet, make sure the flowers are positioned outwards. You should have no problem finding the perfect colour since they are available in white, red, yellow, pink, purple and even green, to name a few. Only some gladioli are scented so, for the most part, if you want a sweet smelling bouquet, you might not want to rely on these flowers.
When handling these flowers, you should always do so with care as there are certain parts known to be poisonous. This flower and plant should not be eaten and, if you are particularly sensitive, you should also wear some gloves as they can cause your skin to become irritated.
Gladiolus flowers are known as the birth flower for the month of August which is wonderful since they should still be in season for those living in the northern hemisphere. If you have a friend or loved one celebrating their birthday in the month of August and you want to send flowers, check with your florist if they have gladioli in stock and send a very special flower delivery over!
If you grow this plant in your garden, you will need to make yourself aware of all the factors that can threaten its life and health. Gladioli are vulnerable to leaf spots, corm dry rot and the gladioli thrip. The thrip is a small black flying insect and, by sucking the juice from the plant, it causes the plant to turn silver, then brown and finally death. It is always a good idea to ask a nursery assistant or some kind of professional about such threats before planting any flowers or plants.