If you’re looking for a dramatic, meaningful flower to include in your garden this year, or to send to a loved one, the Gladiolus is an exotic choice. August’s birth flower was named for its sword-shaped leaves; the name Gladiolus, is Latin for “sword”. This beautifully simple flower was also called “xiphim” from the Ancient Greek word xiphos – meaning sword.
Meanings and Colors
Flowers come in all shapes and sizes and the Gladiolus is a fine example of this. It has large thick stems, usually with 6-8 tightly packed blossoms on one side. They come in a variety of colors – some that are native to the species and some that have been cultivated over the years – pink, yellow, red, purple, white and orange.
Representing strength of character and gracefulness, this blossom also represents the 40th Wedding Anniversary. Said to have had a secret meaning in the Victorian era, this flower was given to symbolize “love at first sight” and secret passion.
Parts of the Gladiolus are poisonous if ingested; nevertheless, this extremely fragrant member of the Iris family was still used for medicinal purposes once upon a time. The English used the corms to remove thorns and splinters, while some mixed powdered corms with goat’s milk to relieve colic. Care and Cultivation
If you are a gardener looking cultivate flowers that evoke a gladiator-esque or old Victorian feel for your garden, the imposing Gladiolus is a wonderful choice. They are generally semi-hardy (there are some hardy varieties) and should be grown in temperate climates – full sun if possible.
In the fall, after the blooming season is over, lift the corms (bulbs) from the soil, store inside and replant in the spring. Some of the hardier varieties can be left in the soil. When you are ready to plant in the spring, plant the corms 4-6 inches apart in full sun – partial shade, in an area with good drainage.
The Gladiolus is a must for unique flower designs and looks beautiful as a cut flower. It should be tended to daily with fresh water and the removal of wilted blossoms.Enjoy this unique flower in your garden or on your kitchen table; it is sure to evoke passion and strength with whoever comes across it.