Horticultural Classification of Gladiolus

1.Horticultural Classification

There are four types of gladioli based on the size and shape of the flowers. For horticultural purposes, gladioli are grouped as follows.

Large flowered (Grandavensis) Hybrids

The large flowered gladiolus is more suited for garden display than floral decorations with triangular overlapping florets. The flower spikes grow to a height of 120 to 150 cm, are strong and erect, with florets of 10 to 15 cm across, closely arranged, triangular and symmetrical flowers and flowers late in the season.



Primulinus gladiolus has slender spikes with separate wide florets arranged in a zig-zag pattern. They bear hooded flowers which are smaller in size. The spike grows to a height of 100 cm and bears florets of 5 to 10 cm across. It is a mid- season flowering type.Miniatures Miniature gladiolus, popularly known as ‘Pixiola,’ are the daintiest, with upper petal slightly hooded and smaller florets having frilled or ruffled petals These are preferred for forcing under glass or for growing in pots or bowls.

Colvillea, Nanus, Byzantinus, Gradis, and Tristis are some of the popular cultivars in this category. The spike grows to a height of 60 to 100 cm, with florets of 5 to 7.5 cm across, good for cutting and early flowering type. They include butterfly hybrids which possess spikes up to 36 cm in length. Edges of the petals are often frilled and ruffled with individual florets about 6 cm in diameter, having most distinctive throat markings.


Peacock Hybrids

These are good for cutting, dwarf in height, multi colored sorts with reflexed petals.


Star flowered

These types bear flat star – like flowers, a race raised by Unwins of Cambridge, England


2.Commercial Classification

For commercial purposes, gladiolus is classified by spike length and floret number. These classifications are given below

Grade Spike Length (cm)  Minimum Floret Number
Fancy >107 cm 16
Special >96 cm to ≤ 107 cm 15
Standard >81 cm to ≤ 96 cm 12
Utility ≤ 81 cm 10

3.Classification of Gladiolus based on the size of the floret

Depending on the size of the floret, gladiolus are classified as follows:-


Type Floret size (cm)
Miniature  <6.4 cm
Small  ≥6.4 cm to <8.9 cm
Decorative  ≥8.9 cm to < 11.4 cm
Standard or Large  ≥11.4 cm to <14.0 cm
Giant  >14.0 cm


4.Classification of Gladiolus by colour

White, yellow, orange, salmon, pink, red rose, lavender, violet, smokes, tan and brown. In each colour pale, light and medium deep, etc. are also considered.


Soil and Climate

Gladiolus prefer sunny situation, and hence site selected for gladiolus planting should be sunny protected from stormy winds, by wind breaks or hedge. They will not do well if planted close to trees, shrubs, buildings and in low, poorly drained places. Well, drained fertile loamy to sandy loam soil with the pH of 6.5-7 is highly preferred for gladiolus cultivation. Highly acidic and alkaline soils should be avoided. Clay soil is not suitable for gladiolus cultivation. Adding sand to make it porous can amend light clay soil.

Water logged, the heavy, sticky soil will result in decaying of corms as well as a delay in growth of plants. Therefore heavy soil should be supplied with sand, decomposed leaves, and organic manure. Through the incorporation of these materials into the soil and judicious cultural practices will improve the physical texture of the soil. Organic matter should be incorporated into sandy soils by heavy application of manure. The added organic matter will help in retention of moisture and prevent leaching of fertilizers. It produces bigger size flowers in areas with moderate humidity





  • Central Coastal Agricultural Research Institute, Ela, Old Goa, Goa
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