28 Types of Gladiolus With Pictures

Gladiolus, often affectionately known as glads, is a genus of ornamental perennial flowering plants in the iris family, Iridaceae. These plants are native to southern and central Africa and Eurasia. There are more than 300 species and many cultivated hybrid varieties of this flower. Depending on the variety of gladiolus, the adult height of the flower may be as short as 1.5 feet or as tall as 5 feet. 

Gladiolus plants grow from a corm, a thick underground stem that resembles a flattened bulb. The flowers of gladiolus are trumpet-shaped and can be red, pink, yellow, purple, green, orange and white. These flowers are arranged in a spike along the stem, usually with the largest flower at the base.

The plants thrive in moderate to warm climates and are hardy in USDA zones 8-10. They can as well be grown as annuals in cooler zones (2-7) and some varieties are even hardy to zone 4 or 5.

To grow gladiolus, plant the corms in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter, with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Plant the corms about 4-6 inches deep, with the flat side down, and space them 6-8 inches apart. The plants prefer full sun and should be watered regularly, keeping the soil moist but not soggy.

In colder zones, gladiolus corms may not survive winter outdoors and should be dug up in the fall, after the foliage has been killed by frost. Allow the corms to dry for a couple of weeks, then store them in a cool, dark place until spring. In warmer zones (8-10), gladiolus corms can be left in the ground over winter.

Gladiolus plants are not only beautiful in the garden but also make excellent cut flowers. Their long stems and lasting blooms make them ideal for tall vases and creative displays.

Varieties of gladiolus

  1. Gladiolus ‘Charm’
  2. Gladiolus ‘Painted Lady’
  3. Gladiolus ‘Night Rider’
  4. Gladiolus ‘Star of Bethlehem’
  5. Gladiolus ‘Alaska’
  6. Gladiolus ‘Avalanche’
  7. Gladiolus ‘Green Star’
  8. Gladiolus ‘Traderhorn’
  9. Gladiolus nanus ‘Prins Claus’
  10. Gladiolus ‘Nanus Hybrids’
  11. Gladiolus ‘Blue Moon’
  12. Gladiolus ‘Dykhanie Oseni’
  13. Gladiolus Illyricus
  14. Gladiolus ‘Priscilla’
  15. Gladiolus ‘Red Cascade’
  16. Gladiolus ‘Tantastic’ (Cartmell 1991)
  17. Gladiolus ‘Chocolate Ripple’
  18. Gladiolus ‘Byzantinus’
  19. Gladiolus ‘Columbine’
  20. Gladiolus ‘Blue Ice’
  21. Gladiolus ‘Princess Margaret Rose’
  22. Gladiolus ‘Black Velvet’
  23. Gladiolus ‘Gartengladiole Apricot’
  24. Gladiolus ‘Merianellus’
  25. Gladiolus bonaspei
  26. Gladiolus carmineus
  27. Marsh gladiolus
  28. Abyssinian gladiolus


Gladiolus ‘Charm’

Gladiolus ‘Charm’ features rose-pink flowers with cream-white throats, which are set off by the deep green, sword-shaped leaves typical of gladioli. The blooms are arranged on spikes that can reach up to 70 cm in height. Suitable for growing in USDA zones 8 and warmer, but it can also be grown as an annual in cooler climates.

‘Painted Lady’ gladiolus

The ‘Painted Lady’ gladiolus reaches a height of about 50 cm and produces beautiful flowers in early spring. Its arching flower stems bear 4-8 pink flowers, each adorned with frilly edges and rich crimson throat markings. This variety is a late spring to summer bloomer.

Gladiolus ‘Night Rider’

Gladiolus ‘Night Rider’ typically grows to a height of 3 to 6 feet, with sword-shaped leaves and a central spike of flowers. Flowers are near-black, velvety with a hint of violet or burgundy. It is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 10. Blooms in early to midsummer, extending the flowering season with individual flowers opening sequentially from the bottom of the spike upwards.

Gladiolus ‘Star of Bethlehem’

These flowers are large, wavy, and have a contrasting pink or lilac throat. This flower is notable for its abundant blooms on straight, erect flower stalks. They are hardy in USDA zones 8 through 11 and can be planted in spring once the danger of frost has passed. Each flower stalk of the gladiolus plant may contain between one and 30 funnel-shaped blooms.

Gladiolus ‘Alaska’

Gladiolus ‘Alaska’ has gently ruffled, pure white flowers reminiscent of Alaskan snow. Each flower spike has up to 12 blooms and can rise among the erect, narrow, deep-green sword-shaped leaves. These plants are spectacular on their own in a summer garden or in a vase, and they provide a long-lasting floral display as the flowers open from the bottom of the spike up.

Gladiolus ‘Avalanche’

The Gladiolus ‘Avalanche’ produce pure white flowers. The flowers are large and trumpet-shaped, and they grow on tall spikes. The Gladiolus ‘Avalanche’ is a popular for cut flowers, and it is also a beautiful addition to the garden.

Gladiolus ‘Green Star’

The Gladiolus ‘Green Star’ is a unique variety of gladiolus. It has lime-green blooms, which are copiously ruffled. This variety is particularly attractive due to its sword-shaped leaves and the way the flowers open from the bottom of the spike up. This plant is not fully hardy and may need to be lifted in fall in zones 3-7 to be overwintered indoors or protected with a thick mulch.

Gladiolus ‘Traderhorn’

Gladiolus ‘Traderhorn’ produces large, dramatic red flowers with a white center. This variety has tall flower stalks that need staking to prevent them from flopping and becoming unattractive. The plant is hardy in zones 7a-10b and thrives in full sun.

Gladiolus nanus ‘Prins Claus’

Gladiolus nanus ‘Prins Claus’ belongs to the nanus group of gladioli, which produce two to three flowering stems per corm, with four to six flowers open at any one time. This variety features pure white flowers that are marked with pink ovals, giving an appearance as if water droplets are outlined in red-orange on the fan-shaped lower petals. It is a popular for both borders and cut flower arrangements, especially when paired with cool reds, pinks, and purples.

Gladiolus ‘Nanus Hybrids’

Gladiolus ‘Nanus Hybrids’ are a group of dwarf gladioli. These gladioli grow no larger than about 2 feet in height. They are smaller than those of large-flowered gladioli. They come in colors of pink, white, red, yellow, and orange. These hybrids are hardy to Zone 5 and are known for producing a high number of flowers despite their smaller stature.

Gladiolus ‘Blue Moon’

Gladiolus ‘Blue Moon’ isn’t actually a single variety, but rather a mix of different gladiolus varieties that produce flowers in shades of blue and purple. They are hardy in zones 7, 8, 9, and 10, but can be grown in all zones as long as the corms are lifted and stored for the winter in colder regions.

Gladiolus ‘Dykhanie Oseni’

Gladiolus ‘Dykhanie Oseni’ is a gladiolus cultivar bred by Vasiliev in 2007. The name translates from Russian to “Breath of Autumn” and the flowers are a beautiful blend of orange, yellow, and red.

Gladiolus Illyricus

The Gladiolus Illyricus, also known as the wild gladiolus. This plant grows up to 50-100 cm tall and features narrow, grass-like, and sword-shaped leaves. The flowers are magenta purple with white markings on the lower 3 lobes, and they bloom from April to August. This plant thrives in heaths, scrub, and open woods in its native regions.

Gladiolus ‘Priscilla’

Gladiolus ‘Priscilla’ is a cultivar of Gladiolus (Gladiolus x gandavensis) that has tricolored flowers. These florets, over a dozen per stem, are arranged on strong and erect spikes having pointed sword-like leaves. The flowers have a white background with pink edges and a soft yellow throat. This cultivar is popular for both garden borders and pots. It thrives in full sun and prefers to have plenty of water during the growing season, but can still grow successfully in partial shade.

Gladiolus ‘Red Cascade’

The Gladiolus ‘Red Cascade’ has a profusion of buds on each stem, which burst open to reveal big crimson funnel-shaped blooms. The flowers cascade down the side of the plant. They bloom in late spring to early summer.

Gladiolus ‘Tantastic’

This particular cultivar has been awarded the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). It features ruffled, deep salmon-orange blooms with a contrasting yellow throat. It is good for summer borders, where they will add a splash of color and interest.

Gladiolus ‘Chocolate Ripple’

The Gladiolus ‘Chocolate Ripple’ has deep pink and purple flowers with a rippled effect. The flowers bloom on tall spikes that can reach up to 40-50 inches in height. They are hardy in zones 8-10 but can be treated as annuals or protected with a thick layer of mulch in other areas.

Gladiolus ‘Byzantinus’

The Gladiolus ‘Byzantinus’, also commonly called the Byzantine Gladiolus features narrow, sword-shaped basal leaves and erect flowering spikes that can grow up to 2-3 feet tall. The flowers are funnel-shaped and can be a range of colors, including magenta, pink, purple, and maroon. They typically bloom in late spring to early summer.

Gladiolus ‘Columbine’

The flowers of Gladiolus ‘Columbine’ are typically a soft peach color, but they can also range from pale pink to deep orange. The flowers have a delicate, ruffled appearance and bloom in mid to late summer. This variety is appreciated for its tall growth, reaching between 2 to 5 feet.

Gladiolus ‘Blue Ice’

Gladiolus ‘Blue Ice’ has tall long green stems with long green leaves and beautiful bluish/purple flowers with a white throat. These plants prefer full sun and well-drained, sandy loam soil.

Gladiolus ‘Princess Margaret Rose’

Gladiolus ‘Princess Margaret Rose’ is a cultivar of Gladiolus which features fiery hot colors, a mix of red, orange and yellow flowers. The ruffled blossoms are arranged closely and symmetrically on strong and erect spikes adorned by pointed sword-like leaves.

Gladiolus ‘Black Velvet’

The Gladiolus ‘Black Velvet’ produces deep blue-purple flowers with a velvety texture. It has tall, slender stems with sword-shaped leaves. The flowers bloom in the summer and are popular for use in cut flower arrangements.

Gladiolus ‘Gartengladiole Apricot’

The Gladiolus ‘Gartengladiole Apricot’ is a tall gladiolus variety that features apricot-colored blooms with slightly ruffled petals. The flowers are large and trumpet-shaped, with six petals. They can grow up to 4 feet tall and bloom in the summer.

Gladiolus Bonaspei

Gladiolus bonaspei, also sometimes referred to as Watsonia pilosa grows to about 30-40 cm tall. The flowers of Gladiolus bonaspei are orange, but can also be yellow, with darker markings in the throat, and borne in a loose spike.

Gladiolus carmineus

The Gladiolus carmineus, also known as the Cliff Gladiolus produces clusters of 4-5 starry, brilliant rose-pink blooms on each flowering stem in the fall. Each of the lower petals has a white line streaked down their center surrounded by a pale mauve halo. The ravishing blossoms emerge before the foliage of gray-green, narrow, arching leaves.

Abyssinian gladiolus

The Abyssinian gladiolus, also known as fragrant gladiolus (Gladiolus murielae) features long, sword-shaped green leaves. In late summer or early fall, it produces magnificent white flowers with a prominent purple blotch at their heart. The star-like blossoms are well-spaced and emit a delightful fragrance.

Marsh gladiolus

The marsh gladiolus, also known as Gladiolus palustris thrives in moist and humus-rich environments that are alternately wet and dry, such as wet meadows and forest clearings. It features erect, unbranched stems with glabrous (hairless) leaves that are shaped like a sword. The flowers are a beautiful rosy violet or magenta color, and the plant blooms in the spring, typically from May to July.

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