Gladiolus nanus | Also known as: Sword lily, Galdiolus Nanus Group | Rating: 0 votes | Print / Pdf

Gladiolus nanus – less commonly known as Swordfighting grannies.

Gladiolus nanus are shorter than your average gladioli but just as attractive and they're very hardy too. The flowers look rather like orchids, all different colours from creamy white through to peachy orange, pink and red. Some have beautiful oval shaped markings on the petals. They're a spectacular garden flower, in the beds or a container, and they're perfect as a cut flower too. You'll get flowers on this plant from the middle of summer until the first frost sets in. It grows best in sandy or loamy soil and it likes plenty of sun so plant in a sunny spot in the garden.

Rate it:
Known dangers?
  • no
Height [m]
  • 0.7 - 1
Spread [m]
  • 0.1 - 0.15
Dominant flower colour
  • Varies
Flower Fragrance
  • No, neutral please
Flowering seasons
  • Early summer
Foliage in spring
  • Green
Foliage in summer
  • Green
Propagation methods
  • seed
  • offsets
Growth habit
  • Clump-forming
  • Erect
  • Acidic
  • Neutral
  • Alkaline
Hardiness zone
  • Z4-9
Heat zone
  • H12-1
Winter temperatures [°C]
  • -34 - -1
Heat days
  • 0 - 210
  • well-drained
Soil type
  • sandy
  • chalky
  • loams
Sun requirements
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
  • Sheltered
Standard category
  • Flowers & bulbs
  • Bulbs
Grown for
  • Attractive Flowers
Creative category
  • Kid Approved
  • For Beginners
  • Colours
  • Show-offs
  • Roses & classics
Garden type
  • Cottage garden
  • City
Garden spaces
  • Flower beds
  • Cut flowers
  • Borders
Gardening expertise
  • beginner
Time to reach full size
  • 2 to 5 years
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PLANTS Gladiolus

Gladiolus or as it's sometimes called, Sword lily because gladius is Latin for sword (which is also the basis for the word gladiator of course). It's a tall and exotic looking flowering plant that will make a real impact in the garden, even at the back of your borders. The showy funnel shaped flowers grow out of the tall stalk and can be many different colours. They make an impressive cut flower. They prefer light soil with good drainage and lots of sunshine. Spider mites, aphids and gladiolus corm rot can all be issues with this plant.

Gladiolus Nymph

gladioli 'Nymph'

PLANTS Gladiolus 'Nymph' | -12°C - 4°C beginner Full sun, Partial shade


PLANTS Gladiolus papilio | -12°C - 4°C beginner Full sun, Partial shade

Gladiolus papilio is a beautiful yet unusual flowering perennial bulb.n summer, the flower stalks are covered in large hooded blooms that are white, with maroon, purple and yellow hues for additional interest. G. papilio is best grown in a sunny position that remains moist throughout the growing season. For this reason, it’s often used in containers, which can be moved around the garden as needed. G. papilio can also be a fantastic cut flower, allowing for some outside colour to be brought into the home.


PLANTS Gladiolus alatus | -12°C - 4°C beginner Full sun, Partial shade

Easily looking like they could come from another world, the exotic flowers of gladiolus alatus, which is commonly known as kalkoentjie will stop people in their tracks. Though short-lived, these orange and greenish-yellow flowers are incredibly eye-catching and bloom in spring. Kalkoentjie goes dormant during summer so the soil should be kept quite dry during this period. This plant grows well in sandy soils with good drainage and likes a sunny position. Kalkoentjie makes for an incredible container plant and its vivid and unusual looks add great appeal to a rock garden.

gladioli 'Amy Beth'

PLANTS Gladiolus 'Amy Beth' | -12°C - 4°C beginner Full sun, Partial shade

gladioli 'Anitra'

PLANTS Gladiolus 'Anitra' | -12°C - 4°C beginner Partial shade, Full sun

gladioli 'Award'

PLANTS Gladiolus 'Award' | -12°C - 4°C beginner Full sun, Partial shade

gladioli 'Baltica'

PLANTS Gladiolus 'Baltica' | -12°C - 4°C beginner Partial shade, Full sun