Flowers

Product Profile: Gladioli

Written by Rona Wheeldon
October 28, 2014

Mention gladioli and what sort of image do they conjure up for you?

For some people, Dame Edna Everage springs to mind, as 'Gladdies' are her signature flower. Or do you may remember watching Top of the Pops and seeing Morrisey from The Smiths dancing with some stems lodged in his trouser back pocket?

In more recent times, perhaps you've seen photos of Rebel Rebel's amazing display of 600 gladioli for a BAFTA After Party?

This month, we're going to focus on this budget friendly bloom, which is popular for contracts, events and weddings. There are several different types available at New Covent Garden Flower Market, including of course, Essential White, pictured here.

White Essential white gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Background

A member of the iris family (Iridaceae), the name gladiolus is derived from the Latin word 'gladius', meaning 'sword'. In fact, the flower is sometimes referred to as the sword lily and in the Language of Flowers, it aptly signifies ready-armed!

On its long stems, the gladiolus has large funnel-shaped flowers with petals with ruffled edges. You’ll find them in a wide range of colours including white, pink, red, orange, yellow, green and purple. 

Their peak season is June/July through to October/November and they generally come from Holland and the UK.

Types

There are two main types of gladiolus at the Market : Standard and Bridal.

Standard

Essential White are available at several wholesalers including Alagar, D G Wholesale Flowers and Dennis Edwards Flowers.

White essential white gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Bananarama at Dennis Edwards Flowers

Cream bananarama gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Prince of Orange at Alagar

Orange prince of Orange gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Ovatie at D G Wholesale Flowers

Orange ovatie gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Red Balance at Dennis Edwards Flowers

Red balance gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Chinon at D G Wholesale Flowers

Red Chinon gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

T512 at Alagar & D G Wholesale Flowers

Pink T512 gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Ben Venuto at Dennis Edwards Flowers

Pale pink Ben Venuto gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Adrenalin at Dennis Edwards Flowers

Pale pink adrenaline gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Sweet Shadow at Zest Flowers & D G Wholesale Flowers

Dark red Sweet Shadow gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Mojito at D G Wholesale Flowers

Purple mojito gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Standard British Gladioli

From July through to September, you'll find British gladioli available at Pratley.

Standard British gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Bridal

Bridal gladioli have smaller blooms and shorter stems than the standard variety. They're sometimes also referred to as mini gladioli and are available at D G Wholesale Flowers.

White Bridal gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

General Advice

Standard gladioli come in bunches of 10 stems, with bridal gladi coming in bunches of 40 stems.

Due to their height, the standard variety is perfect for pedestal designs for weddings and events. They also look stunning massed on their own in a tall cylinder vase.  White gladioli are very popular for wedding designs, both the standard and bridal varieties, with the latter being ideal for wired work.

Jon Hart of J H Hart Flowers says:

"Gladioli are great for contract work, due to their height. They're a steadfast flower. You can get Israeli gladioli, which are available all year round. They tend to be smaller and skinnier though than standard gladioli."

To make sure that your gladioli blooms open up in time for a specific event, you usually need to buy them 5-6 days in advance. So, for a wedding on a Saturday, buy them on a Monday or Tuesday.

And to encourage the buds to open, simply remove the top bud, either by cutting it off or simply nipping it out. Some of the traders also recommend putting gladioli in warm water once you've cut the stems, to help them bloom.

Dennis at Dennis Edwards Flowers has a wide selection of gladioli.

Dennis at Dennis Edwards Flowers with gladioli at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Design Inspiration

Here are some examples of fabulous floral designs using gladioli by Market customers.

Rebel Rebel Gladioli arrangment for BAFTA After Party

An amazing display of 600 upright gladioli arranged by Rebel Rebel for the BAFTA After Party at the Natural History Museum.

(Source : Rebel Rebel)

Gladioli fan created by Redel Rebel in a floristry demo at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011

A gladioli fan created by Rebel Rebel in a floristry demo at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011.

(Source : Flowerona)

Pedestal design with gladioli by Simon Lycett

Pedestal design featuring gladioli which was created for a wedding by Simon Lycett.

(Source: Simon Lycett)

Your Designs

Gladioli paintings by Patricia Small

(Source: Patricia Small)

This month, we'd love to see photos of designs you've made using gladioli from New Covent Garden Flower Market. Simply send an email to info@cgma.co.uk, stating your company name and website address. Or if you prefer, you could post your photo on Twitter and copy us in, by including @MarketFlowers in your tweet. We'll then upload your photos into this new section.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this month's Product Profile and it's inspired you with ideas for using gladioli. Please do ask away below if you have any questions or would like to make any general comments about these wonderful spire-shaped blooms. We'd love to hear from you…

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