Gladiolus cardinalis are from the Cape area of South Africa, this hybrid seems to have clearer markings than the species and indeed G. cardinals itself is the parent of many hybrids.
So here we have one of the prettiest late spring flowering Gladiolus, crimson red flowers with creamy white markings. These markings only appear on the lower three petals the upper petals being plain red.
In its natural environment it would grow in damp soils, however ours grows in a dry area and receives very little supplementary water.
Reaching around 50cm (18 inches) in height, plant in groups of 3 or more. Over time they will form a clump and can be divided when dormant.
This Gladiolus cardinalis hybrid has been in cultivation for many years, and is readily available from good specialist nurseries.
Gladiolus cardinalis Care
One established this is an easy care plant. It does require a well drained soil, with at least good morning sun.
It is a Gladioli with a strong growth habit, and although the flowers are brilliant in colour, they are smaller than modern cultivars, so rarely does this plant require staking.
You can also this spring flowering bulb in containers, bring it to the forefront when it flowers for impact.
By the time summer gets into full swing it will be dying back, it is summer dormant and therefore drought tolerant. Simply let the foliage die back and then do a quick tidy up. Mulch lightly adding a little compost if you have it, and this lovely plant will bounce back next spring.
This is a plant that is reluctant to set seed, so propagation is by division of bulbs or corms during dormancy.