Ready Reckoner on Cultivation of Gladiolus

Gladiolus (Gladiolus hortensis L.), the queen of bulbous flowers, belonging to the family Iridaceae and subfamily Ixoideae, is one of the most popular ornamental bulbous plants grown commercially for its fascinating flowers in many parts of the world. It is one of the most important ornamental crops having a pivotal place as cut flower both in the domestic as well as the international market. Gladiolus was introduced into cultivation towards the end of the sixteenth century.

Most of the wild species (approximately 300) of gladioli have their centre of origin in Africa, particularly in and around South Africa, but a few species are also from the Mediterranean and adjoining areas of Europe. Ploidy in the genus ranges from diploid (2n = 30) to dedecaploid (2n = 12x = 180). The genus was named by Tournefort, and this generic name is derived from the latin word ‘gladius’ meaning ‘sword’ on account of the sword – like the shape of its foliage.

The popularity of this crop as a cut flower is increasing day by day because of its keeping quality and in an exhaustive range of colours of the spikes. This Gladiolus is a slender herbaceous perennial with sword shaped phyllode leaves, grown both for gardens and floral decorations. From the commercial point of view, mainly, it is very important due to its majestic flower spikes having florets of varying shapes, sizes, colours and excellent keeping quality.

Gladioli grow from rounded, symmetrical corms that are enveloped in several layers of brownish, fibrous tunics. Their stems are unbranched, producing 1 to 9 narrow, sword-shaped, longitudinal grooved leaves, enclosed in a sheath. The lowest leaf is shortened to a cataphyll. The leaf blades can be plane or cruciform in cross section. The flower spikes are large and one-sided with bisexual flowers, each subtended by two leathery, green bracts. These flowers are variously coloured, pink to reddish or light purple with white, contrasting markings, or white to cream or orange to red.

Gladiolus is relatively easy to grow and is ideal for bedding and exhibition. The flowers are used in flower arrangement, in bouquets and for indoor decorations. It is gaining popularity in India as one of the main decorative flowers. The demand of its cut flower for the bouquet and other floral arrangement is increasing day by day due to its long vase-life and economic value.


Horticultural Classification of Gladiolus

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….read more


Varieties of Gladiolus

There are different varieties of gladiolus like Arka Gold, Darshan, Arka Amar, Arka Naveen, KumKum, KKL 1, Pusa Srijana, Pusa Unnati, Pusa Manmohak, Pusa Red Valentine, Pusa Vidushi, Pusa Gunjan, Pus Bindiya, Pusa Subhangini, Nazrana , Jester, Novalux, American Beauty, Red Ginger, Summer pearl, Charms Glow, Tiger frame etc….read more


Plant protection of Gladiolus

Aphids, thrips, cut worms, loopers, grubs and nematodes are the common insect pests of gladiolus. Cut worms (Agrotis segetum) Grown up clay coloured larvae cut the plants at ground level. Plants are vulnerable to attack, up to the three leaf stage. Cut worms also damage the underground corms and developing spikes. Ploughing during summer exposes pupae to predators. Poison bait consisting of carbaryl or malathion at 0.1% in wheat bran and molasses in the field control the larvae…read more


Propagation/Planting/Nutritional Requirements of Gladiolus

Gladioli are propagated by seeds, corms and Cormel. In each new growing season, a new corm is produced from the mother corm. Cormels are formed at the tips of branched stolons that develop from the buds located at the base of the new corm. Gladiolus can be commercially propagated by corms of at least 4-5 cm diameter. It should be healthy and disease free. Conically shaped corms are preferred over flat ones, as it gives better flowers…read more


Irrigation/Cultural Practices/Curing of Spike (Harvesting)/Vase life of Gladiolus

Judicious use of water is possibly the most important single factor in the production of the best gladiolus spikes. A gladiolus crop must not be allowed to suffer from water stress especially when spikes are emerging. Regular irrigation at an interval of 7 to 10 days depending upon the weather is necessary. Over watering should be avoided. Irrigation should be withheld at least 4-6 weeks before lifting of corms….read more


Harvesting and Storage of Corms of Gladiolus

After harvesting of flowers or spikes, plants are twisted down to ground level for allowing the corms to mature. Once the spikes are cut out, the leaves begin to turn yellow. Plenty of moisture, followed by a dry period, before lifting ensure the formation of large corms. Gradually the water supply is reduced till the leaves get dried naturally. After 3 – 4 weeks corms and cormels are lifted from the ground….read more






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