Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Easy Care Gladiola

Showy gladiolas elicit strong opinions from gardeners, as they are diva plants in the garden.  Some love their dramatic, tall spikes of bold colors, while others (such as the well-known English gardener Alan Titchmarsh) hate them with a passion.  I personally like gladiolas and enjoy their showiness - but on the other hand, I hate how much work they take.  I have to stake each one in the summer so they don't fall over from their top-heavy blooms, and I have to dig them up for the winter, as they are not usually hardy in my zone.

I don't like gladiolas that much.


Thankfully there are other, easier-going types of gladiolas.  They may not be as showy as those dramatic divas, but neither do they act like it.  They are the smaller, hardier glads, such as the species Byzantine Gladiolus (Gladiolus communis ssp Byzanthinus), which I have in my garden.

Byzantine Gladioli
Native to the Mediterranean area, this gladiolus grows to 2 or 3 feet tall and doesn't need to be staked. It is also hardy up to zone 5, so I don't have to dig them up the fall.  Even those gardeners that say they don't like glads appreciate the gracefulness of this one, which more closely resembles a wildflower than a showy diva.


Sometimes known as Sword Lily, Jacob's Ladder, or Turkish flag, Byzantine gladioli corms (similar to bulbs) are usually planted in fall and bloom their bright magenta flowers at the end of spring through early summer.  They like full sun and well-drained soil, though they will tolerate part shade and even heavy clay if in a dryer area.  Over time they multiply to form nice stands of flowers that I've seen the hummingbirds enjoy.

stands of Byzantine gladioli next to Geranium sanguineum
According to Old House Gardens, less hardy imposters are sometimes sold under the name of Byzantine gladiolus, so you do have to buy them from a reputable source.  (I've always bought mine from Brent and Becky's Bulbs.)  I've grown this gladioli in both North Carolina and up here in Massachusetts and have had great success with it.  I just plant the corms in fall and let them do their thing.


Beautiful gladiolas with little care from me?
That's a winner!


20 comments:

  1. Oooh. Very nice. Is it fragrant?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think they are fragrant, which is too bad. Very beautiful, though!

      Delete
  2. Hello Indie!
    Beautiful, very delicate flowers, their color enchanted me.
    Greetings.
    Lucja

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lucja! They do look delicate, which I like.

      Delete
  3. I'm not familiar with this gladioli - thanks for introducing it! It has grace and beauty - looks great paired with Geranium sanguineum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The colors really complement each other well!

      Delete
  4. I bought some of these at a big box store this year and planted them, but nothing has come up yet -- we'll see... Yours look lovely, and so nice not to have to dig them. Best, -Beth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope they come up for you! They are so low-maintenance - I've moved mine around and barely cared about them.

      Delete
  5. The wild gladiolus we find on our mountain hikes I love. The florist's clumpy version not so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are so much more delicate looking, which is nice.

      Delete
  6. I'm not a gladiola fan, but I love these! I planted a few quite a few years ago, and they have come back every year since. I need to make a note to order more of these this fall; I've never seen the hummingbirds on them, but I'm not surprised they enjoy them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These gladiolas are graceful and lovely, perfect for painting watercolors, and I'm not surprised the hummingbirds love them either.

      Delete
    2. They would look lovely in watercolor!

      Delete
  7. You know, I absolutely love gladiolas of all kinds. But they stopped liking my garden a few years back. So I stopped planting them. I don't know if it was the lighting or the increased heat, or what, but one of these days I'd like to try them again. They're so wonderful for cut floral arrangements! The Byzantine Glad is so graceful! Maybe I'll have to try it! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh interesting - I wonder why? The Byzantine one seems to be pretty hardy. I've had it in different gardens, dug it up, moved it around, and generally abused it, but it keeps blooming.

      Delete
  8. Thanks for introducing me to this plant! I would actually be able to grow it in my garden (if I had room).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I'm starting to run out of room in my garden, too! I keep tearing up more lawn. Thankfully these don't take up much room.

      Delete
  9. This is a new one for me! Thanks for the info. I don't usually care for glads, but this one appeals to me. The color is striking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a lovely color in the garden, and it blooms at a time when I don't have a lot of other things going on.

      Delete
  10. A new plant to me and it's a delight. I love the showiness of glads but think that they're probably most easily grown in the vegetable garden in rows where they can be staked easily. They always remind me of big old-fashioned floral arrangements. A favorite in my Alaska garden but I've not grown them for 30 years. Easier to just buy a few at the grocery store when they're in season.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...