Gladiolus hybrids are not reliably perennial locally. They might not be reliably perennial anywhere. I had believed that they could be so where they get more winter chill, but chill does not seem to help. I have been told that they are no more perennial in Pennsylvania, Oregon or Oklahoma. When I grew them many years ago, only about a third survived to bloom for a second season. Of that third, only about a third survived to bloom for a third season. This is one of many reasons why I am so ‘glad’ about perennial Gladiolus papilio , as well as Watsonia species, from Tangley Cottage Gardening. Although, strangely, a few hybrid Gladiolus survive.

1. Watsonia X pillansii ‘Coral and Hardy’, just like the Gladiolus papilio, was a gift from Tangly Cottage Gardening of Ilwaco in Washington. I learned that it blooms in summer.

2. Lilium of an unidentified cultivar is finally finishing bloom. Obviously, it is irrelevant to Gladiolus. It just happened to be so pretty precisely as I was in need of a sixth picture.

3. Gladiolus is mostly finishing bloom now. These few are blooming a bit late. These are merely the common hybrid sort that someone purchased from a retail nursery years ago.

4. Not only have a few of the Gladiolus hybrids been surprisingly reliably perennial for a few years, but this pastel yellow cultivar has actually multiplied, from one bulb to a few.

5. This Gladiolus hybrid blooms annually also, but unlike the pastel yellow cultivar, does not multiply. This and one other just like it are the only two, with neither more nor less.

6. This purple Gladiolus hybrid does the same. It would be nice if it could generate a few copies. Since it is the only specimen here, and might be fragile, I will not tamper with it.

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


22 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Glad

    1. Yes, I can not explain why the Gladiolus are still perennial while none of the others that they were planted with were not. Watsonia pyramidata is expected to be reliably perennial, but this Watsonia pillansii is new to me.


  1. For some reason I have a plant of Gladiolus papilio flowering in a pot in the greenhouse; took a few good pictures of it earlier in the week and would have put it in my six if I’d remembered. It’s a monster compared to anything that’s ever grown in the garden. I have Watsonia in my six too, I’d like more.

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    1. Yes, I saw your Watsonia pillansii. Is Gladiolus papilio a monster because it is so prolific? I was not aware of that before I planted it. I can think of a few situations in which that would be an advantage


    1. Although they are not reliably perennial, I would grow them again also, just because they are so excellent. It is hard to imagine that they used to be a common cut flower crop on the coast of Alameda County (on the east shore of the San Francisco Bay). It is hard to imagine any agricultural commodity growing there now.

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      1. They came back in my farm plot where they were planted in a corner with the veggies in a raised bed. When I moved to a larger plot, the next renter took them out, so I can’t report past 4 years.

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      2. Four years is impressive. I grew some for about that long, but they were only a few of the many original. I remember a single hybrid gladiolus bulb that bloomed out of some overgrown junipers at the home of a colleague down south during the 1990s. It was likely there many years earlier, before the junipers became overgrown. My colleague moved away from that house, but the single gladiolus continued to bloom as recently as a few years ago, and could have bloomed this year!


  2. I had perennial glads in Atlanta. Here they are a disaster. I can grow moldy foliage and that is about it. Is Watsonia a western plant? I had never seen any until recently and bought some seed (still in the packet!) Pretty white lily.

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    1. Were the fancy hybrid Gladiolus perennial in Atlanta? Jayne in Georgia just commented that they are perennial on coastal Georgia.
      I do not know if Watsonia is any more popular here than it is anywhere else. It is not exactly common. I think it was more popular in the 1980s than it is now. Not many people seem to remember it. It seems to me that it should be more popular than it is. In coastal regions, it survives in landscapes that were abandoned years or decades ago. There happens to be a colony of it naturalized on the bank of the Highway 1 Freeway just north of (of all places) Watsonville.

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      1. I think they were Priscilla glads, which are very common. Watsonia in Watsonville! I love it. I will have to give the seeds a try. Abandoned sites sound great for no maintenance or water!

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      2. Hey, ‘Priscilla’ looks like the single gladiolus that bloomed annually in a colleague’s garden down south. It was likely there for many years before the 1990s, and was still blooming annually a few years ago, and may still be blooming.

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    1. Like picking fruit, but for cut flowers instead? I remember picking my own gladiolus, but it was to grab all the bulbs that we could find prior to the redevelopment of the fields that they formerly grew in. It is still a mystery to me how cut flower growers grew them, since the few bulbs that I found (after everyone else got there first) did not do much more than generate a few leaves.

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