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© 1987, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


The gladiolus is as beautiful as it is easy to grow. Planting, culture, care, insects, and disease are discussed in this NebGuide.

Gladiolus are one of the most popular flowers for garden use, and are easy to grow. The plants, ranging from two to six feet in height, have sturdy sword-shaped leaves and produce flower spikes with trumpet-shaped florets borne in double rows.

A member of the iris family, gladiolus have great diversity of flower color and shape. Flower shapes range from those with plain petals to those that are deeply ruffled and cut. The colors cover the spectrum and there are solid as well as bicolor types. Florets range in size from 1 inch in diameter up to giants 8 inches in diameter.

Gladiolus are principally native to South Africa, with some species found in the wild in southern Europe and the Near East. Much cross- and inter-breeding of these species has brought about the glads we know today.