For every month, there is a different birth flower. August’s birth flower is the gladiolus. Breen’s Florist is super excited about this month’s flower. This African native has become one of the most beloved flowers in American perennial gardens, and for good reasons. The name Gladiolus doesn’t just refer to the flower proper. It is also the name of the flower’s genus.
The Meaning Behind Gladioli
As if that isn’t enough of a coincidence, gladioli are the flowers of the Roman gladiators. In addition to this fun fact, the common name for the flower is “sword lily.’ They are referred to as “sword lilies” because of the shape of the leaves. We’re not sure how this concept evolved, but it is also believed that when a man or woman gives someone a gladiolus stem as a gift of love, he or she is figuratively piercing the heart of the person to who receives give the flower.
According to the Language of Flowers, the gladiolus is a symbol of character strength. It is also connected with generosity, integrity, and sincerity.
What Else do Gladioli Represent?
Gladioli are also associated with the following characteristics and personal qualities:
- Calmness and tranquility
- Eternal sleep
- Natural grace
There are roughly 260 species in the gladiolus genus. Almost all of the known gladiolus species come from Africa, especially in places that lie south of the Sahara Desert. The Southernmost portion of South Africa is home to 160 species, and 76 species are found in tropical areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The gladioli species that are bred for commercial markets and for growth from corms in home gardens are different from the wild varieties that are native to Africa. Botanists spent many centuries tinkering with different species to come up with hybrids that consistently produce many flowers per stem, and that produce the huge flowers that are prized by flower lovers everywhere.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, gladioli are considered half-hardy in temperate zones. They are suitable for growth in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 10. Houston is in hardiness zone 9a, which makes it an outstanding place to grow them. It means that after planting corms after the last possible frost date, the corms can stay in the ground. It generally takes about 90 days from the time of planting to see the corms mature and produce the spectacularly showy flowers that are ideal as cut flowers.
Brighten someone’s day by giving him or her, the gift of this month’s flower. Our Gorgeous Gladiolus arrangement is as beautiful as it is dramatic. We fill a clear glass vase with plenty of tall stems. The color will depend on what’s available.