Unusual Varieties of Gladiolus

Written by linda neas
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Unusual Varieties of Gladiolus
The brilliant bi-colours of this gladiolus are an example of the modern hybrids. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Unusual varieties of gladiolus are hybrids with a wide range of difference. Sizes run the gamut from Tiny Tot, a miniature glad to White Angel, a Grandiflora that stands 5 feet tall. The diversity of colour in hybrids is another consideration. With cross-pollination, stripes of contrasting colours such as pink and white or variegation of a single colour, as well as splotches or dotted varieties, bring unusual options to today's gardens.

Modern Summer Hybrids

Modern summer hybrid glads or Grandiflora grow larger than the species glads with up to 40 flowers per spike with over 5-inch flowers on some varieties. The ruffling and colour of the modern summer hybrids continues to bring unsurpassed varieties. For instance, the Green Star Grandiflora Gladiolus has lime green flowers with ruffled edges. Another spectacular glad of this variety is the Passos, which has orchid-like blooms of dark violet with violet streaking to the white edges.

South African Gladiolus

Gladioli are native to South Africa. With both winter and summer bloom, gladioli appear in gardens throughout the year in the southern hemisphere. A particularly eye-catching variety is the Gladiolus alatus. It has short spikes of approximately 7 inches with large hood flowers consisting of orange and green petals. In addition, high on the cliffs of the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa grows the unusual, vibrant Gladiolus flanaganii or Suicide Lily, so called because of the danger in scaling the mountainside in order to see it. Fortunately for gardeners today, the Suicide Lily, a brilliant red glad with spiked petals is available through growers.

Miniature Gladiolus

If space is an issue, miniature gladioli are the answer. Growing up to 2 feet high, miniature gladiolus, such as the Glamini Gladiolus Emily or Naomi, add a startling pop of colour inside the home. Emily has light pink and bright red flowers with petals that curl back at the edges, while Naomi sports blossoms of purple with white centres. During warm weather, Glamini Gladioli do well in full sun.

Butterfly Gladiolus

Gladiolus papilio or Butterfly gladiolus do not resemble the common idea of a gladiolus. This particular variety of gladiolus grows in most any type of soil. The Butterfly glad has a tall stem of over 3 feet with funnel-shaped, mauve flowers. Inside the flowers is a deep maroon and gold.

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