Year of the Gladiolus
Discover why these classic summer-blooming bulbs are making a comeback.
Overview and History
Gladiolus are as American as apple pie. Generations of gardeners, from Maine to California, have tucked these summer-blooming bulbs into their gardens in spring and been delighted by the gorgeous flower spikes that appear just a few months later. Buckets of long-stemmed glads are a late-summer tradition, and they can be found at almost any county fair or farmer’s market.
In fact, gladiolus are far more exotic than you may think. Most are native to Africa and other arid countries around the Mediterranean. Plant breeders didn’t begin working with gladiolus until the late 1800s, but they have had great success. Today’s glads are far showier than those that grow in the wild and the color options are simply incredible. No wonder floral designers, flower farmers, and home gardeners are finding new and creative ways to put glads front and center.