August babies are very familiar with beauty. In addition to their birthstone being the vibrant green peridot, their birth month flower is the gladiolus – also known as the sword lily. It’s taken on this nickname because gladioli grow on tall stalks that usually reach between three and four feet, though under the right conditions they can get as tall as six to eight feet, with multiple flowers growing on a single stalk. In most cases, the flowers all bloom on a single side of the stalk, making it a flower that’s very easy to work with in floral arrangements and bouquets. It’s hardy in a freshly cut bouquet, but it’s also a very low maintenance flower to grow in your own garden. Here’s what you should know about this elegant flower:
Meaning of the Gladiolus
If someone you care about has an August birthday, this is the perfect opportunity to send gorgeous gladioli his or her way. In fact, it’s been said that the gladiolus is meant to “pierce the heart” of the person who receives it, making it the perfect flower choice for someone you have romantic feelings toward. However, depending on the color of the flowers, your message can convey anything from passion to friendship. There are over 250 species of gladiolus, and the flower blooms come in just about every color and shade you can think of, from deep reds to bright yellows and whites. No matter what the color scheme of the arrangement you order, a few matching gladioli can always be added.
Caring for your Gladioli
The great thing about the gladiolus is that while it certainly adds something special to a bouquet, these flowers also make a gorgeous addition to your flower garden. Though they don’t grow out of the traditional bulbs like most perennials, instead growing from corms, planting a few gladioli corms just once under the right conditions can allow you to have continuous gladioli harvests all through the spring, summer and even fall for years to come. Just be sure to cut the stalk on an angle beneath the lowest flowers, but leave multiple leaves so the stalks will be able to bloom next year. Most of the time, gladioli will only bloom once per year, so don’t harvest your stalks until there are multiple florets.
Once your gladioli are cut, store the stems in lukewarm water until you’re ready to arrange them in a bouquet. The length of the stalks makes gladioli one of the most versatile flowers for arrangements. HGTV had some great ideas for how to arrange gladioli, no matter what type of decor you have:
- Try using stalks of just single color gladioli with curly willow in a plain vase for a modern arrangement.
- Allow the gladioli to tower above the rest of the flowers in your bouquet, rather than cutting them down to the same size. Not only does this add variation to the height, but it allows more than one type of flower to really stand out.
- Embrace the greenery. While gladioli have gorgeous blooms, there is a lot of greenery to their look as well. Don’t cut the leaves or stalk off!
Since the gladiolus stems are so thick and there are many buds on the stalk to nourish, they tend to drink a lot of water. Be sure to change your bouquet’s water every day and nourish the flowers with plant food. With proper care, your gladiolus bouquet should last at least a week!