The unique versatility of the gladiolus

Published on 01-07-2024

Some might think of gladioli as flowers with a somewhat stuffy or old-fashioned image. Of course, that’s completely unjustified, but as a Dutch proverb says: You can’t love what you don’t know! The days when gladioli only came in yellow, red, and orange are long gone. The palette of available colors has grown exponentially, and so have the options when it comes to shapes and color combinations. Add to that the unique characteristics of the gladiolus and you’ll see why it’s so versatile.

What makes gladioli so unique and versatile?

Gladioli originate in South Africa, where they were eaten and used as a medicinal plant. And in Roman times, gladiators would fight to the death in the arena – death, or gladioli, because the gladiator that won would get gladioli thrown at him until he was covered in them.

Even back then, the gladiolus was a versatile flower. Today, it’s even more so, thanks to its unique characteristics:

  • Summer vibes. Gladioli are all about summery strength and charisma! The gladiolus is a colorful, proud summer bloomer that will give you an instant summer vibe in your home and garden. Thanks to their unique height and shape, they’ll add dimension to a bouquet as well as a border. You can be sure to make an impression with a vase of large-flowered gladioli on your dresser or kitchen table.

  • Decorative. Flowers on both sides of the spike give the gladiolus extra decorative value. Spot a dried-out bottom floret, or a tip that’s gone slightly limp? Don’t get rid of your gladioli just yet! Just refresh the water, cut them down a little, and maybe move them to a smaller vase.

  • Let the bride shine bright! When the gladiolus is in full bloom, it’s a true eye-catcher in any bouquet. Much like the bride, it will be a shining focal point on a wedding day! Thanks to their luxuriously long vase life, gladioli are ideal for multi-day summer events.

  • Metamorphosis. Gladioli go through a fascinating metamorphosis, from an inconspicuous green sprig to the focal point of any bouquet or garden once it starts to bloom. And remember, the color of the buds certainly isn’t always an indication of the flower’s color (or colors!). That means you’ll have to wait and see what happens when the blooms open… Surprise!




Weather-resistant, sustainable, and culturally relevant

Gladioli have historically been called the “flower of love” as a symbol of love at first sight: with its pointed shape, the flower would pierce a lover’s heart like one of Cupid’s arrows. And the gladiolus is not only esthetically pleasing, but also amazingly versatile! Here’s why:

  • Weather resistant. Thanks to its sturdy stem and the fact that it’s grown outdoors, the gladiolus is a robust, weather-resistant flower that can take a little bit of a beating. That’s completely in line with its heroic connotations. The name comes from Latin gladius, meaning sword. The gladiolus is a symbol of strength, victory, and pride. It’s a real hero!

  • Local and sustainable. Gladiolus flowers are grown outdoors, close to the market where they will be sold. That means the growers can take advantage of natural lighting from the sun and don’t need a lot of shipping. Another point for sustainability: Gladioli are true magnets for bees and other insects. When they’re blooming, you’ll be amazed by the number of bees constantly flying around. Bee happy!

  • Cultural significance. From a stately and long-blooming funeral flower to a colorful stunner for festive ceremonies like birthdays, baptisms, and weddings. For honoring ancestors on a Vietnamese altar or on the Day of the Dead. Even culturally, the long vase life and height of the gladiolus offer amazing versatility when it comes to preferences and uses.


The wonderful world of gladioli

As we said: You can’t love what you don’t know! Now that you’ve been immersed in the wonderful world of gladioli and their unique characteristics, we’re sure you can’t deny the versatility and esthetic qualities of this mesmerizing flower. 

Add to that Forever Bulbs’s gladioli breeding, which focuses on strong bulbs and healthy varieties that grow better and are less susceptible to pests and diseases – while being grown with as little crop protection as possible – and you can be sure you’re buying with the planet in mind!

Want to know more about how we breed gladioli? Learn all you need to know in our blog post Gladioli breeding: crossing and developing new varieties. Do you want to know more about our unique approach? Visit this page to learn more about Forever Bulbs, our partners, and why we work hard every day to spread our love for gladioli all over the world.

And don’t forget you can find more inspiration on our social media pages Facebook and Instagram. Let’s all bloom!