pretty petals – gladiola

October 3, 2013


Welcome to week twenty-two of our column entitled Pretty Petals. Each week we will introduce you to a flower that we are working with here in the studio as well as flowers that we absolutely adore. Please join us every Thursday for some floral eye-candy where you will learn about a variety of very special blooms. This week we begin to say our  “good-byes” to the local gladioli . They have had an unusually cool August here in Ontario, resulting in a less plentiful crop than normal.  But our challenging weather certainly hasn’t diminished their beauty.  Let’s have a look!

Pretty Petals - Gladiolus

The gladiola (gladioli in the plural form), is a flower that requires a bit more work that the average garden flower.  They come from bulbs that cannot survive our cold winters – every spring, once the threat of all frost has passed they can be dug into the ground.  As the flowers begin to perish in the fall, the bulbs must be removed from the soil and stored in a cool, dry place over winter.  Although this doesn’t seem like a particularly difficult task, if you are a gladiola lover chances are your collection will consist of more than just a few bulbs, but rather several hundreds! Digging up bulbs is a back breaking job – I learned this first hand as I helped a dear friend yesterday dig up her 10 year old collection of bulbs. Let’s just say that I am particularly sore today!

Pretty Petals - Gladiolus

Gladioli come in almost every colour imaginable (except blue).  There are even colours so dark that they appear black.  My personal favourite is Emerald Isle – a beautiful lime green shade.  When we are unable to get gladiola locally, we rely heavily on the states of Florida and California.

Pretty Petals - Gladiolus Pretty Petals - Gladiolus

Standing well over 100 cm tall, these massive vertical stocks play a major roll in floral design.  They can provide incredible heights or widths in both traditional and contemporary designs.  The florets are also impressive on their own and can look stunning in a floral creation – by cutting up the stock into multiple pieces, the flowers can be inserted easily into floral foam.

Pretty Petals - Gladiolus

In order to get maximum performance out of your gladioli, follow these simple tips:

  • purchase gladioli that hve tight blooms  – the bottom blooms should be starting to show colour
  • pinch the top 5cm off the tip of the gladiola to help them to open
  • change the water every other day, giving each stock a fresh cut
  • keep gladiola in a cool room – this will slow down the opening of the florets so you can enjoy them longer
Pretty Petals - Gladiolus