The ancient name for gladiolus was xiphium from the Greek word xiphos, meaning sword. Its name was later changed to gladiolus, which comes from the Latin wordgladius, which also means sword.
The genus includes around 260 species with many thousands of registered cultivars. Most gladioli originated in Africa and were not known in Europe until the mif 1750s when they were introduced by travelers following the Indian Trade Route. European botanists and hobbyist soon began to grow and breed gladiolus flowers. By 1806, William Herbert produced the first hybrid. He crossed G. tristus (night scent) and G recurvus (violet scent during the day) and named it ‘fragrans’.
Gladiolus require well drained fertile loamy soil. Water logged, heavy sticky soil will result in decaying of corms as well as delay in growth of plants. The planting position should have a sunny situation protected from wind, by wind breaks or hedge. It produces bigger size flowers in areas with moderate humidity. Shallow planting of corms i.e. at the depth of 5-10 cm is essential. Deep planting will result into poor production of cormels and also cause decaying of corms.
Description and Distribution:
The true species grows in moist cliffs and waterfalls in the area of the western Cape Province. It blooms in summer. We are showing a hybrid, which G. cardinalis is one of the parents.
This Gladiolus is one of the most beautiful we grow, with tall 24-36″ spikes of deep red flowers backed with silver, with as many as 16 flowers per stem. Very vigorous,
and tolerates summer water, making it an excellent garden plant.
Gladiolus cardinalis was first described by Dutch born scientist von Jacquin and published in 1790.
Any good garden centre and mail order supplier.