The Birth Flower of August: Gladiolus
In season between July and September, the Gladiolus makes its summer debut, tall and bright above the other garden flowers.
Gladiolus or “sword lily” is the birth flower for the month of August.
The name of the flower derives from the Latin for sword “gladius” and is part of the lily family of flowers.
Do you have a friend or loved one with a birthday or anniversary in August?
The Gladiolus is also the flower for the 40th wedding anniversary because of its dual meaning of infatuation and integrity.
Gladiolus in History
- During Roman times, the gladiolus was associated with the gladiators. The soldiers would wear the flowers around their neck as a protection while fighting in battle.
- Originating in Africa and Asia, the flower only became more well-known in Europe and the U.S. during the 1700’s. Trade routes were expanded during that time, which led to the discovery of many exotic and new products to Western Europeans and North Americans.
- There are also medicinal uses of the flower, such as mashing the seeds to draw out splinters and thorns, or to treat colic by mixing with milk.
Colors and Symbolism
- There are over 250 species of gladiolus, in a wide array of colors.
- Pink, red, purple, yellow, orange, white, and green are the most common. Red connotes deep love, pink a more maternal love, white for purity, yellow is cheerfulness, and purple for grace.
- The overall meaning of Gladiolus, regardless of its color, is strength and integrity.
- Another meaning is infatuation, that the person giving the flower is piercing the heart of the recipient, which ties in with the sword connotation.
How to Care for Gladiolus
Gladioli thrive with full sunlight and are relatively easy to maintain.
Remove a few of the top buds to encourage even growth between the blossoms. The flowers are more long-lasting than other flowers as well. However, they do better in a moderate to warm temperature.
They should be kept away from dogs, cats, and horses as they are poisonous to those animals. When working with the flowers, it is best to use gloves as sometimes the sap can irritate the skin.
Interesting Fact About Gladiolus
Many may assume the Gladiolus is a bulb just like tulips or daffodils. It is close to a bulb but actually called a corm. A bulb contains layers, an onion is a very common example of one.
A corm is solid and flatter than a true bulb. While a bulb remains after the flower has bloomed, a corm is part of the growing process and will no longer remain, but a new one may grow in its place.
With so many varieties available in different heights, blossoms, and colors, the Gladiolus is a versatile and dramatic flower to give as a gift or to plant in your own garden. This flower truly makes a statement with its large blossoms and taller height. The bright colors look glorious in a gift bouquet or table arrangement in the home.