My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

Gladiolus - Gladiolus, Sword lily, Corn Lilies, gladioluses, glads,  plural: gladioli


Detail of my Blue Harlequin design. An ink blue Gladiolus composite flower nestles snugly between two lily grass cones that curve nimbly into a crescent shape.

Common name

Gladiolus, Sword lily, Corn Lilies, gladioluses, glads, plural: gladioli


South Africa, Tropical Africa, Asia and Mediterranean Europe


There are more than 260 species of Gladiolus with multiple hybrids that are available to the cut flower industry.


Green, white, cream, yellow, red, pink, (or combinations thereof) and most amazingly ink blue

Vase life

One to two weeks


Faint floral scent


Excellent line flower or cut the spike for smaller individual flowers. The flower breaks up neatly and can be rolled together to create a spectacular composite flower


Look for long stems that are cut cleanly with healthy green leaves. The bottom most flowers should just begin to open and the next few buds should already show their colour. Give the stem a cut and peel away the bottom most leaves. Place the flowers in warm water (with flower food). The top most closed buds will always point to the sky (negative geotropism) this can ruin the line of your design, especially when arranged vertically. Condition the flowers upright if you want the sword shape and snip away the top most buds if you want to keep the closed buds from curving up or condition the flowers leaning to add them at an angle to your design

Every week I add a new design with related tutorials. Be sure to subscribe to receive an email notification with design inspiration.

Related Designs

9 August 2023 Tap in support for horizontal placement of your top heavy flowers

Placing gladiolus stems horizontally so that the stems... disappear.

9 August 2023 Look at me… doing math!

Adding our own "bit" to our floral design work.

28 August 2019 Hula skirt for a glass vase

Hawaiian Hula skirt for a Luau inspired flower arrangement.

28 August 2019 But... what are you Like?

A fun design... with a hula skirt (...for the cool summer breeze to arrange and rearrange)

7 August 2019 A Three level Kenzan skewer stack to Radiate Gladiolus spikes flat in a shallow container

Build up a design in a shallow container by stacking it by threading the plant material into the teeth of a pin cushion in three levels.

7 August 2019 Use a drinking straw to push foliage horizontally deep into a Kenzan to leave space for stems to rest on top of them

The teeth of a Kenzan (or pin cushion) is rather sharp. Here is a pain free way of pushing down the plant material into the teeth to keep it securely in place.

7 August 2019 Where to cut Gladiolus spikes shorter

Gladiolus stems can be cut into sections so that it appears natural and well groomed.

7 August 2019 Point Out: this is a single bunch of gladiolus!

Cut stems of Gladiolus to place in a radiating summer design.

11 September 2013 Making it last

Split and spiral a few gladiolus flowers in a way that the stems remain intact, to spiral in a water filled filled vase for a long lasting composite flower

7 September 2012 Just Right! Floral Art demonstration: Own It!

My fourth design in my demonstration at the BC Floral Art Society meeting

15 February 2012 Blue Harlequin

A small hand held design as an alternative to a corsage.