GLADIOLUS (Gladiolus cardinalis)

You don’t seem to see Gladiolus in many residential gardens in Australia these days, but they were a great favourite of my Mother in our quarter acre first home block.  My Mother had a massive garden, both ornamental in the steep slope in front of our house, as well as the vegetable gardens and fruit trees in the rear yard.

There are around 260 species with thousands of cultivars and most originated in South Africa.

They should have a sunny situation protected from wind with a well-drained soil, but will tolerate periods of dryness once they’re established.

The funnel-shaped floors open from the bottom of the stem upwards and come in shades of white, red, pink, yellow, orange and some bicolour.

These images of the gorgeous GLADIOLUS (Gladiolus cardinals), a hybrid, come to you from our Royal Botanic Gardens here in Melbourne, but I daresay are easy enough to find in any local plant nursery or online supplier if you want them in your ‘Aussie’ garden.

14 thoughts on “GLADIOLUS (Gladiolus cardinalis)

    1. How nice to have that reminder then, Terry. Maybe its the older folk who used to grow them in their residential gardens as I can’t remember seeing any in the urban streets in my current suburb of Melbourne.

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    1. As our weather patterns get drier and drier, many of the public parks and gardens are being re-landscaped to include South African and South American drought-hardy plants, (or even our own Native species), to replace the old English cottage garden plants from the mid 1800s. I’m sure you’ll see more and more familiar flowers and plants on my blog as time goes by, Anne.


  1. These are much more lovely than the glads I see here. The most common are used a lot for funerals — I suppose because they’re large enough for floor vases — and I’ve never been able to move beyond associating them with funerals. I never realized that people actually grew them in their gardens.

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    1. Yes, Gladiolus are used here at funerals too, Linda. I think it’s mainly the older folk and my Mother’s era who grew them in their home garden, but some florists still stock them so I guess some people must buy bunches of the older variety.
      (Sometimes it seems there are more vegetable foliage used in bunches of flowers these days, as well as garden landscaping). I miss some of the old English cottage garden flowers, but with our constant droughts……what else will grow but drought-hardy 😀

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  2. I had them in my garden long ago in Saipan. The spread like crazy there and I would have to constantly cut them back. You see them in gardens here too or just growing sort of wild in spots. Probably the ancestors of ” Glads” from a long ago garden.

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    1. I’ve only seen plain colours in the past, Eliza, so this hybrid in the Botanic Gardens was a real treat. These images were made years ago and on reflection, I wish I’d had a shallower DOF, but they were mostly lying on the ground so I guess I couldn’t have got much better at the time of shooting.

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  3. It’s strange, but gladdies don’t seem to be very popular at all these days. Perhaps it’s the connection with Dame Edna. Or perhaps not. Who knows?

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    1. I don’t seen to see them much either, but then I don’t walk to work or around residential areas to see homeowner’s gardens any more.

      I think most homeowner’s are planting more drought-tolerant, or low-maintenance gardens, (and don’t have the large back and front yards we had when I was young).

      Every suburban homeowner had room and time to garden when I was small.

      Lifestyles have changed now and in general, (and I am generalising), most people are too busy too garden or grow their own food. My new housing estate is located next to a very old suburb and I daresay if I actually went for a walk around the streets I might find a gladiolus or two. But as you know, walking is too painful (for the sake of a walk) for me these days. I only walk when I get desperate for some fresh air now 🙂


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