Gladiolus dalenii “Hookeri” – African Gladiolus
Spikes of intensely yellow and orange coloured flowers rise above sword shaped leaves.
This plant grows from corms and flower spike rise to about 1½M. The leaves are sword shaped – “gladiolus is latin for little sword. The species is named after Cornelius Dalen, Director of the Rotterdam Botanic Gardens, who introduced the species into gardens in Europe. In the wild this would be a summer flowering plant but in Karin’s garden it seems to flower reliably in mid-winter.
G. dalenii is native to Africa, from the Cape up to western Arabia. It is found in open grassland, woodland and scrub and in rocky areas, often among rocks along streams, at altitudes up to 2500 m. This is the main parental species of the large flowering grandiflora hybrids.
Soil / Aspect:
G. dalenii is said to prefer slightly acid soils that are gritty and well drained. However, it seems to thrive in the clay around Motueka. It will need plenty of sun to flower properly, and it doe not seem to mind being baked dry in summer.
This plant can suffer from aphids but they are easily controlled with Conqueror oil. In some situations this plant can become almost too vigorous and may need lifting and thinning out every few years.