Gladiolus Origin: South Africa. Flower colour: almost any colour you can think of Flowering period: July - Šeptember Average plant height: depends on the type, 50 - 140 cm. Planting depth to base of bulbs: 10 cm Spacing between bulbs: 10 cm Type of bulb: corm Light requirements: full sun Landscape uses: borders and as a cut flower in the vegetable/cut flower garden History Gladiolus is one of the four most popular summer-flowering bulbs. People use them either for the garden or as a cut flower in the summer months, The gladioli we know are all hybrids, and have been in culture since 1841. It is difficult to identify and count original species, but some botanists believe there are close to 300. Gladiolus is easy to hybridise, so new plants appear every year as old ones decline in popularity. A lot of the common large-flowering varieties were hybridised after 1940 in England and the Netherlands. The butterfly-types were introduced in 1951, and over the last twenty years American hybrids have become more common. Large-flowering gladiolus This is the most important group, based on the quantities and range of varieties available. In the Netherlands several hundred varieties are cultivated in many colours and colour combinations. Butterfly gladiolus This group contains varieties in which the plants are not as big as the large-flowering giadioli, therefore the flowers are also a little smaller. The color of the flower is very often in strong contrast with the rest of the plant, and tends to look like a butterfly. Butterfly types are very suitable for cut flower production. Primulinus gladiolus These varieties originated from the yellow Gladiolus primulinus. This group can be recognised by the upper flower leaf which covers the other flower leaves, pistil and stamen as if it were a protective little cap. The heart of the flower is, for this reason, difficult to see. Small-flowering gladioli Gladiolus colvillei Gladiolus nanus Gladiolus tubergenii Gladiolus Callianthus (Murielae) Family: Iridaceae Popular names: Abyssinian gladiolus and Acidanthera Origin: Abessinie/Ethiopie Flower colour: white Flowering period: July - October Average plant height: 60 - 90 cm Planting depth to base of bulb:10 cm Spacing between bulbs: 15 cm Type of bulb: corm Light requirements: sunny spot is necessary (P.M. sun) Landscape uses: borders, containers. History Acidanthera likes sunny borders. This gladiolus-like plant has 24 inches (60 cm) long sword-shaped leaves and produces about 10 blooms in late summer or autumn. The bloom has a star-like shape and at the centre there is a prominent purple blotch. They also have a pleasing fragrance. The base of the six flower petals is purple, and forms the dark 'heart. Acidanthera originates from East African mountains, between 4000 - 8O00 ft (1200 - 2500 meters) high, mainly found in grassy areas and amongst slippery rocks. Combination The advantage of acidanthera is that it blooms after the other summer-flowering bulbs. Acidanthera requires a well-drained soil and a warm spot in the garden. When the corms are stored in daylight (in the winter) they turn green (which by the way has no affect on proper growth). If you store them in the dark, they remain white. Many perennial piants are especiaily useful to combine with the Acidanthera in the border. Particularly worth mentioning are the blue cultivars from among the Aster Dumosus Hybrids, Aster novii-belgii and Aster ameltus. Other suitable plants include late-flowering blue Aconitum species and cultivars, Salvia nemorosa, Acenthus mollis, and the blue Tradescantia cultivars. Acidantheras are sometimes planted in pots. In this application, they can be combined with blue lobelias, Scaevola aemula and supplemented with the grey-leaved Helichrysum petiolare. Place the pot in a very sheltered location.