Gladiolus The gladiolus (from Latin: "gladius", a sword) is a flowering perennial plant of the iris family (Iridaceae). It has medium-sized, showy flowers in shades from white to yellow and pink. The flowers are borne on a tall stem, each flower with a stalk known as a scape; an arrangement that distinguishes it from the similar and related "crocus", which has a flower stalk with a flat blade arising from underground. Gladiolus is indigenous to Eurasia; most varieties grow in the summer and require six hours of sunlight daily.
The species is divided into about 70 species and many hybrids and cultivars. The flower spikes are large and composed of three to 12 individual flowers, each with a narrow, bilaterally symmetrical perigon (or tepal), the outermost being the largest. Each flower consists of a cylindrical outer series of small bracts, a single large, thin, leathery basal spathe (or leaf) called the "cataphyll", and a central corona of small upright segments curving inward at their apices. The perigon is one to three cm long and is split into two lips: an upper lip consisting of two lobes with smooth margins and a lower lip having three lobes with scalloped margins. The perigon is usually white, flushed with rose, pink or violet on the outside and yellow inside; it may be patterned in darker shades of those colors. Flowers typically bloom from late winter to early summer.
The fruit consists of a berry-like capsule containing numerous seeds. Gladiolus are frequently grown from corms of selected species, varieties or hybrids. Seeds are usually sown in autumn to allow the plants to mature during winter. Plants may be propagated by division, creating clumps of smaller bulbs, but this has not generally proved successful for commercial production. The color of the flower spikes will vary between varieties.
Some varieties such as the 'Gladiolus communis' have a cluster of bulblets growing at the base of the flower spike allowing for a more prolonged blooming season. The corms should be set with their noses just above soil level, if planted deeper they may rot and die before flowering. Bulbs should be watered well until sprouting, after which they need only be kept moist.
In autumn, the foliage turns yellow and withers; this signals both a time for gladioli to stop growing and the onset of dormancy for the winter. Gladiolus are susceptible to fungal diseases during the growing season. The foliage should be removed immediately after it has died back, as this is when fungal infections are most likely to occur.
Gladiolus are relatively cold-hardy plants; they can survive winter in USDA Hardiness Zones 8–10, but not usually lower. They grow best at temperatures of maximum plant growth, so it is best to delay pruning until after flowering to avoid cutting off flower buds. The corms and young foliage can be eaten by snails and slugs; the leaves and flowers attract butterflies.
Global gladiolus production
According to the latest data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the global production of gladiolus flowers in 2016 was 8,560 metric tons. The top five producing countries were Kenya (3,460 metric tons), Ethiopia (1,900 metric tons), South Africa (1,200 metric tons), Uganda (960 metric tons), and Tanzania (800 metric tons).
The global production of gladiolus flowers has increased steadily in recent years, from 5,965 metric tons in 2010 to 8,560 metric tons in 2016. The majority of the world's gladiolus flowers are grown in Africa, with Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania being the top five producing countries. Gladiolus flowers are also grown in other parts of the world, such as India, Pakistan, Mexico, and the United States.
The gladiolus is a flowering plant that belongs to the iris family. It is native to Africa, Asia, and Europe. The plant grows to a height of 1-2 meters and has long sword-like leaves. The flowers are large and showy and come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, red, purple, and yellow. Gladiolus flowers are used for cut flowers, as well as for ornamental purposes.