Gladiolus papilio was the topic of my Six on Saturday post for the tenth of November in 2018, when the author of Tangly Cottage Gardening Journal sent me bulbs from one of her landscapes. Embarrassingly, that was almost three years ago. They were properly installed into a landscape here, and grew well for their first season. However, they needed to be relocated as their bed got renovated. They had been in no mood to bloom during recovery. Then, while I was away, a colleague staked a single unfamiliar bloom.

1. Here it is! This is the first bloom of the RAD Gladiolus papilio since it was planted here almost three years ago! I know it looks silly staked like this, but it would not stand upright otherwise.

2. Bloom is exemplary. Well, I believe that it is. I am unfamiliar with this species, so studied it and pictures of it online. It would have been nice to get a picture before the first floret shriveled.

3. The exteriors of the florets seems to be almost light gray blushed with pale purple. Upon closer inspection, they seem to be pale purple with pale white. I am certainly not an expert on color.

4. The interiors exhibit a slightly more distinct pattern with the same colors, as well as a pair of yellow blotches in front where pollinators can see them. I do not know who the pollinators are.

5. A few bulbs got canned so that they can eventually get planted directly into my garden, without getting dug from where the rest of them live. They were staked like this only for this picture.

6. Rhody does not understand what all this fuss is about. He would be more interested to read about the many other dogs, kitties and, of course, Skooter of Tangly Cottage Gardening Journal.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:


21 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Gladiolus papilio

  1. Finally at last!! I am so glad yours got a flower. I was just admiring mine today and wondering if yours had bloomed. That is so cool. My blog is running a week behind but I’ll put a link to this when I catch up! I’ve never gotten interior shots that good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! It happened while I was away last last week, so I did not see it until this last Wednesday. The other horticulturist did not know what it was, so staked it like that. I know it looks silly, but I am VERY pleased with it, and can not stop bragging about it. There would be so many more if we did not need to disrupt it. I know that there will be many more next year, and perhaps a few this year that I have not seen yet. They really get around, like montbretia. The one that bloomed is in a spot where I ‘should’ have removed them. It appeared several feet from where it was planted.


  2. As I recall, Gladiolus papilio flowered for me the year I planted it, then skipped a decade or more in the flowering department while spreading over a big area by running underground. I find G.p. ‘Ruby’ better behaved though it still doesn’t flower freely.

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    1. Montbretia does that in the shade here. It works like an elegant ornamental grass that dies back for part of the year. Flowers are rare. I suspect that the Gladiolus papilio will bloom better next year now that it is established. I am unfamiliar with it. I do not mind if bloom is sparse. I really like it regardless. I saw ‘Ruby’ online, but thought that it did not look so much like a wildflower. I mean, it seemed to be a bit more refined, just because of the richer color. In the future, I would like to find a spot where I can put the canned Gladiolus papilio, and allow it to spread out like a wildflower. I would want it to be a confined area, like an embankment on the side of the road, where it can not spread into the road, or far below the road into the shade. I really think it will look best as a wildflower.


    1. I do not mind if I do. I have enjoyed growing it SO much. Even if I get only foliage most of the time, that would be fine. I like it because it is a perennial Gladiolus, and looks like a wildflower, and because of how it got here.


    1. ?! It is shorter than your dahlia, and not much more than three feet tall. Perhaps it looks tall because the geraniums are so low, and the other gladiolus foliage is laying down.


    1. I have been enjoying it also, even without bloom. I had been wanting to grow a perennial species of Gladiolus, and I particularly like this one because it looks like a wildflower. I got some Abyssinian gladiolus this last year, which I also like, but they are a bit more refined. I mean, they do not look so much like a wildflower.


      1. I have seen pictures of it, but still prefer the straight species. I like how it looks like a wildflower. The rich color of ‘Ruby’ is appealing, but a bit more refined. I would like that color for a more refined flower, like a hybrid gladiolus.


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