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:
This is a winter hardy dwarf species native of the Mediterranean and naturalised in a small area in southern England (New Forest. It makes showy, quite large, lilac to pink flowers with white streaks on lower petals on short stems. Easily cultivated in any rich, very well drained soil in full sun, preferably in pots under frostfree conditions throughout the year.
Display only as it is readily available from commercial suppliers.