The birth flower for the month of August is the Gladiolus. The botanical name for this flower is gladiolus, which also happens to be the genus to which the 260 known species belong. The common name for the flower is “sword lily.” The common name stems from the fact that the leaves are shaped like swords. The gladiolus was also the flower of the Roman gladiators who entertained people with their showy sword fighting.
About the Gladiolus Genus
Gladioli are native to Africa. Out of the 260 species that have been identified, 250 are endemic to sub-Saharan regions of Africa. Most of the species (160, to be exact,) are commonly found in Southern Africa. Another 76 species are native to the tropical regions of Africa that lie south of the Sahara.
In the United States and elsewhere, the majority of gladioli that are sold on the commercial market are hybrids of the native African species. Botanists have spent centuries tinkering with the genetics of the Gladiolus genus to create hybrids that have more flowers per stem, and the flowers are larger. The species that are marketed in the United States are far more consistent than the species that grow in the wild in Africa.
Gladioli come in a range of colors, including red, burgundy, lavender, purple, pink, white, orange, and yellow. The flower is symbolic of character strength. Other meanings include eternal sleep, generosity, imagination, natural grace, and oblivion.
What Gladioli Represent
According to the Language of Flowers, if a man or woman gives someone a single gladiolus stem or an entire bouquet of gladioli as a gift of love, their intention is to pierce the recipient’s heart with their love.
Gladioli grow from symmetrically shaped round corms. Each corm is covered with many layers of brown fibrous tissue that protects the flesh that protects the tiny plant embryo that grows inside the corm. Glads, as they are commonly called, are considered half-hardy in temperate climates.
They are typically planted in early spring or whenever there is no longer a chance of frost. They need to grow in a sunny location that is protected from strong winds or heavy rain. They require soil that is very loose so that it can drain well. The addition of several inches of compost improves drainage quality while providing the soil with extra nutrients. Once the corms are planted, they should be covered with a thick layer of mulch. This curtails weed growth while moderating soil temperatures and helping the soil hold moisture.
Trias Flowers is always eager to help our Miami customers find the perfect flower arrangement for any occasion. Call us or come into the store.