Abyssinian Gladiolus

acidanthera murialeVirtues: Fragrant white flowers in late summer to autumn.

Common name: Abyssinian gladiolus, peacock orchid

Botanical name: Acidanthera muriale, A. bicolor var. muriale, Gladiolus callianthus

Flower: Four-inch-wide, six-petaled pure white flowers with a dark red ring around their center. Flower stems are two to three feet tall. Flowering lasts for up to a month in late summer and autumn. Fragrant.

Foliage: Upright swordlike leaves, reminiscent of true gladiolus, two to three feet tall.

Habit: Clumping plant that grows from a corm (a storage organ similar to a bulb), 24 to 36 inches tall and half as wide.

Season: Late summer to autumn.

Origin: Ethiopia.

Cultivation: Grow in well-drained rich soil in full sun, planting corms five inches deep and four inches apart. Fertilize weekly for best flowering. Allow foliage to die down naturally after bloom. Requires a long season of warmth before flowering. In USDA Zone 6 and colder, plant the corms in large pots. This way they can be brought inside before the first frost so if they have not yet flowered, they will bloom indoors. They can be overwintered indoors by bringing the whole pot into a cool, dry, dark location and leaving it unwatered. USDA Zones 7–10.

Image attribution
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Master the art and science of growing flower bulbs with the advice of Judy Glattstein in Bulbs for Garden Habitats. This book focuses on bulbs’ needs so that you can site them properly and enjoy them for years.

If you have a lot of bulbs to plant, make your life easier with Clarington Forge’s Bulb Planter or the Narrow Trowel by Fisher Blacksmithing.

Learn about potted bulbs and much more in Tovah Martin’s The Unexpected Houseplant.

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4 thoughts on “Abyssinian Gladiolus

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  3. I love this bulb…when it sprouts and when it blooms. I have bought this cultivar from several different nurseries. Some times, just the folliage comes up, rarely do I get blossoms. We live in the Midlands of South Carolina so it SHOULD bloom and come back as do my daffodils and other plants that the voles and other critters don’t get.

    • I have the same problem with only foliage coming up but no blooms. Perhaps mine no longer get enough sun, so I’m planning to dig them up and relocate to a sunnier bed.

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