Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus
Plant of the month: January
Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus, gladiolus, are members of the Iridaceae family and can be seen on Cameron Path.
This is the first year we have planted so many of these vibrant gladioli. The corms were planted in the autumn and as they are hardy they will be left in situ undisturbed for many years. This species comes from Spain, North West Africa and Sicily unlike Dame Edna’s gladiolus that are hybrids of the South African species that are not hardy outside in this part of England.
Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus grows upright and strong and is perfectly at home growing in grass. The bright magenta pink flowers certainly add zing to any planting (see them on the American Bank with the blue Camassis’). The flower spikes are different to other gladiolus in that all the flowers do not face forward, and there may be upto 20 flowers in each spike.
Plant in well drained soil so that the corms do not rot and when the stalks are about 15cm high you can give them a high potash feed (tomato feed is good) to encourage flowering.