Sword Lily


1 entry found.
Sword Lily
Common Name: Sword Lily
Botanical Name: Gladiolus spp. (glad-ee-O-lus)
Decorative Life: 6-10 days.
Post Harvest Care:
  • Recut stems under water and place into a fresh flower food solution. Pulsing stems with a 20% sugar solution at room temperature for 24 hours can aid in the opening of more florets per stem, just like when treated with STS. To make a 20% solution, add 1.5 pounds of sugar to one gallon of a freshly made fresh flower food solution made with hot water. Note that the water needs to be hot to aid in dissolving the sugar.
  • Stems are geotropic which means they bend upward from gravity. Handle in vertical position to prevent bending or handle horizontally only at 32-34 degrees F. Removing a few immature flower buds at the tip of the spike as recommended by some to help open lower, more mature flowers is not supported by research. Removal of lower, more mature flowers as they wilt will not help open upper flowers and in fact reduces their ability to open. Placing flowers in fluoride containing water can reduce vaselife, namely, levels as low as 0.25 ppm is all that is needed.
Harvest Instructions: Cultivar selection is important. For example, some good mini glads are 'Adi' (currant-red), 'Kinnereth' (violet), 'Ronit' (purple), 'Yamit' (violet) and 'Nirit (blood-red). Spraying plants 2 weeks before flowers are harvested with a 2% calcium nitrate solution greatly reduces stem topple (breakage) disorder after harvest. Addition of calcium to the soil has little benefit in preventing this postharvest disorder. Harvest when 1-5 flowers on a spike are showing color.
Family Roots:
  • Member of the Iridaceae (iris family).
  • Native to South Africa.
  • Cousins include Iris, freesia, crocus, ixia and Watsonia.
Personality:
  • Normally has 10-16 flowers (4-10 inches or more in length) on a one-sided spike at end of stem.
  • Stems are thick, fleshy, up to 4 feet long.
  • Plant is a perennial from corms, classed as a monocotyledon, leaves mostly parallel veined.
  • While a few cultivars are sweetly scented, most have no fragrance.
Availability: Mid-spring through fall.
Flower Color: Most, except true blue.
Storage Specifics: Generally 32-38F. However, some cultivars grown in Florida are reported to be chill sensitive and therefore are stored at 45 degrees F. No research is available to confirm this report. In addition, there is data to support the use of low oxygen and high carbon dioxide storage and/or packaging of mini-glads ('Adi'). Flowers stored for 14 days at 35F had good subsequent vaselife.
Tidbits:
  • Gladiolus means sword in Latin, referring to the long pointed leaves. This might explain one early common name, sword lily.
  • Miniature forms are available with stems under 2 feet long. Grown from corms, not bulbs. The first species as we know them today were introduced from Ghent, Belgium in 1841.
  • Flower forms: ruffled, fringed, orchid-like, tulip-like and rose-like.
  • Some cultivars are sensitive to fluoride found in water supplies, which can result in flower tip burn.
  • Shorter cultivars are available which has transformed this stereotypic funeral flower into a contemporary favorite.
Recent Findings: Using 'Fujinoyuki', Otsubo and Iwaya-Inoue (2000) showed that the two glucose sugar called "trehalose" worked better as a flower food ingredient, better than the more common sugars sucrose, fructose or glucose.
Personal Experiences: Many gladiolus varieties can be harvested with very little color showing. I have experienced this many times in the past when a lot of product comes on quickly during a very hot humid Midwest summer. Other varieties will not continue to open if you cut them before the first floret is not at least 3/4th open. We have rouged may of these varieties out of commercial plantings to better fit the markets. Gladiolus like plenty of water per week (2" or more) to be healthy, grow straight and tall. Over watering to the point of standing water is too much. Varieties under water stress make poor cut flowers and yield small corms and cormels. (David Plummer)