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Are Gladioli overdue a revival?

NollieNollie Posts: 7,032
I briefly considered gladioli whilst looking for a tall violet-purple spire, then more or less dismissed the idea on the basis ‘I don’t like glads’. Then I thought, time to examine my prejudices, WHY do I think they not OK?

All the reasons I could come up with - brash, gaudy colours, too blowsy, too stiff, do not mix well with other plants in the border, need staking, I could equally apply to some dahlias, lilies, lupins even delphiniums. There are brash, garish colours and hideous bicolour plants all over the place if you look.

There seems to be new, elegant, shorter cultivars, that don’t remotely resemble the big brash ‘show glads’ of old, plus some gorgeous deep colours. So I concluded it was just snobbery on my part.

Be interested to hear your views and if there are any glad fans out there. What do you think, is it time to rehabilitate the glad?
Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.


  • I love glads. Yes, they are a pain to stake up but I can't stop growing them every summer. I always buy a new bag each spring to add to my collection. So I start about 10 bulbs in pots early in the GH the another 10 a couple weeks later and so on, we have a short growing season here in Calgary. Mine are all large to medium.

    My new ones this year

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,407
     It's all Dame Edna's fault!
    I like the little Byzantinus type, and have thought about others for height and colour, but I'm not sure if they would make it through the cold, wet winters here. Then, if they did, they would probably get dug up by mistake - I can cope with clumpers, like daffs and my English irises, but I'm hopeless with individual bulbs!
  • floraliesfloralies Posts: 2,306
    I bought some Glad bulbs a few years ago and now I can't get rid of the things. If I didn't get round to staking them they just fell over. They spread like mad here in the dry and the heat, even winter rains don't put them off. In fact I noticed a new one this morning in flower and I thought i had dug up all the bulblets!
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    I think they are due for a revival just like dahlias had a few years ago. I may even buy some myself this year!
    Wonder if heathers will have a revival some time in the future? It's been almost 50 years since their heyday. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Red mapleRed maple Posts: 741
    I planted some gladioli bulbs year before last, but none of them have flowered. The leaves come, (two seasons),  but they are blind. Quite disappointed, really. I don’t suppose they ever will flower?
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,311
    I like gladioli and I like how easy they are. But I don't want any visible staking and they really don't work without it. I would be happy to grow some shorter, self supporting varieties. Any tips? Do you know any good suppliers? Most suppliers only offer mixes and not enough choice.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,032
    Glad to see there a a few cautious fans out there... 
    Sarah Raven has been championing them for a while, and I came across the Flevo series of shorter glads that don’t need staking, some of which she stocks.

    I also came across this one (forgot what it’s called but can find it if anyone is interested), not so keen on the colour personally, but the form is pleasing:

    I do rather like these two:

    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,642
    I've got gladiolus nanus 'the bride' popping up all over the place and also gladiolus papillio which I like, probably because it's a bit strange. Beth Chatto's garden has that one, apparently, so it can't be that far off trend.
    I do have a handful of the big blowsy ones in my cut flower patch. For when I feel like a REALLY big vase of flowers 
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    Just checked my bulb order with Peter Nyssen and I have ordered 50(!) Gladiolus nanus mixed this year! Does this mean I am before the trend?
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,032
    Well perhaps I am behind it. Some of you were just keeping schtum until now about your secret pash!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
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