Gladiolus cardinalis x

Gladiolus cardinalis x – Waterfall Gladiolus

Spikes of vibrant red flowers white markings and silvered backing to the petals rise above sword shaped leaves in spring.


This is a small Gladiolus, and the plant grows to a little over ½M, with stiff upright leaves. The leaves are sword shaped – “gladiolus” is latin for little sword. The plant grows over winter before flowering in the spring and then dying down during the summer.


Gladiolus cardinalis species grows amongst damp rocks and near waterfalls in its natural habitat in the Cape Province of South Africa. This is almost certainly some kind of hybrid, though with what I am not sure.

Soil / Aspect:

Gladioli are said to prefer soils that are gritty and well drained, to get the corms through the winter without rotting. However, G. cardinalis x seems to thrive in the clay around Motueka.  It will need watering in September as the flowers develop, if Karin’s Garden does not get the normal amount of rain for that time of year. It will need plenty of sun to flower properly, and prefers dry soil when it is dormant over summer.


This plant can suffer from aphids but they are easily controlled with Conqueror oil. This is a reliable plant and propagation can easily be achieved by teasing a few corms out of a clump when the leaves die down – do not wait until new leaves appear. In Karin’s Garden there is no need to lift G. cardinalis x over winter.