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Gladiolus tristis
at Digging Dog

Yellow Marsh Afrikaner

Gladiolus

Sword Lily

These are not the easily obtainable hybrids—you can find those elsewhere. The beauty of our native South African selections comes from the handsome sword-shaped leaves and spikes of unfussy, often flaring blooms.

Belonging to the Iridaceae family, Gladioli have long been associated with strength of character, and we think its strongly upright, yet graceful presence can fashion an intriguing see-through veil for any border. Place them in a well drained site and, after the bloom is over, support strong corm development by reducing water and trimming the stems to just beneath the lowest flowers. Provide winter protection in colder areas.

Gladiolus tristis full sun

So dainty and exquisite, this South African native is one of our favorite spring blooming bulbs. Rising from a stand of tall, rushlike narrow leaves, each flowering wand produces a trio of upturned, creamy yellow, tubular blossoms. Stippled with bronze and green, the large and lovely, flared flowers give off a sweet almond scent. For an untamed look, plant amidst grasses such as Sesleria and Miscanthus ‘Little Kitten’ or for contrasting foliage try Euphorbia ‘Blue Haze’.

Blooms April – May.

Size: 3'–12" high wide; hardy to zone 8.

Gladiolus tristis (P-1125)
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Other selections in this genus


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Current Staff’s Favorite Plant

staff favorite plant

Our favorite plant this week: We love Viola ‘Rebecca’ for it's sweet, delectable scent and tidy compact clumps of dapper evergreen foliage. All are equally captivating, though no two are alike, each ebullient white flower showcases a creamy lemon flushed center and irregularly patterned, deep violet edges. This sweet smelling Viola should be ensconced near a well-traveled path or seating area, where its plentiful color flecked flowers can be easily relished ‘till the first hard frost.

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