Gladiolus Flower Meaning, Symbolism, and Uses To Know

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Tall, erect, and beautifully colored flowers are what make gladioli stand out from a vast field of greens. It comes in various colors but only one distinct shape. Some say these beautiful flowers resemble a spear, others may say it appears like a sword. 

Whatever this flower may look like for many, the meaning and symbolism behind gladiolus are for those brave of heart and steadfast in mind! It is a blossom fit for the mightiest fighters today. It is used as either an ornamental or folkloric medicinal plant.

The rich history and flower color of the gladiolus is what gives it its many symbolic meanings. For example, a white, green, or red gladiolus each means sincerity, kindness, and love. Other colors such as pink or purple gladiolus symbolizes charm and integrity. And lastly, a yellow or orange gladiolus flower represents dignity and infatuation.

History of Gladiolus Flowers

The gladiolus has a very rich and ancient history. The flowers were described in the 15th century as a plant with erect and sword-shaped leaves with spikes of colored irregular flowers. It is a perennial flower plant native to South Africa, Europe, and some parts of the Mediterranean. This flowering plant was introduced to Europe in the 18th century through the Indian trade route along with other perennials.

The flower belongs to the genus Gladiolus of the Iridaceae or Iris family. There are over 300 strikingly beautiful species from this genus alone! The name Gladiolus derives from an Old English word gladdon or a Latin word gladius which means sword. It can also come from the Greek word xiphos which means sword or little sword.

The gladiolus has underground bulb like structures that arise into these beautiful blooms with sword like shape flowers. The gladiolus bulb is a true bulb that has best blooms when planted during cold climates. It requires full sun to partial shade conditions (or in a warm room) and well draining soil to grow.

An important factor in growing gladiolus is the plant’s water uptake. The flowers deteriorate quickly when the water build up at the stem base is lacking. So best keep these plants hydrated when necessary and away from ripening fruits to prevent wilting.

In today’s vast range of flowers, William Herbert and James Colville have given new varieties of the gladiolus. Other names the gladiolus goes by include Gladiola, Corn Lilies or Sword Lilies. Other major species of these flowers are the White Marsh Afrikaner (G. tristis), Abyssinian gladiolus (G. callianthus murielae), and South African gladiolus  (G. orchidiflorus).

Symbolism of Gladiolus Blossoms

If you use your wild sense of imagination, the gladiolus symbolize a sharp blade specifically, that of a sword! Yes, you can say that its name literally translates to the sword, but its overall appearance is what gave this blossom its defined symbolic meaning. 

As this bloom symbolizes a sword, it also represents the roman gladiators of the Roman empire. It portrayed the remembrance and readiness of such warriors during their first and last battle after crossing the finish line. And during the Victorian era, since the flowers resembled a sword, its beauty was believed to have pierced someone’s heart. 

Apart from this, did you know that these blossoms also symbolize infatuation, abundance, moral integrity, and generosity? The flora’s timeless beauty represents the bounty and beauty of all the good things that are yet to come!

The gladiolus was also a flower symbolic of august babies. This august flower symbolize calmness and is honored by the American gladiolus society. 

Meaning of Gladiolus Flower

The gladiolus flower meaning sword is very straightforward. Needless to say that if these blossoms symbolize a sword and a brave gladiator, then its floral meaning quite literally means that you pierce my heart and soul

Some would even say that flowers imply the meaning of strength of character and confidence when the need for such traits arises. But the most important message these flowers try to send is that for whatever life may throw at you, you should always be prepared! 

Vibrant colors of this flower is also what gives it many meanings. According to ancient Romans, the sword-like shape and bold colors of the gladiolus represent a warrior’s strength and integrity. 

Here is a list of some of the gladiolus color meanings.

What does a White Gladiolus Flower Mean?

White gladiolus flowers represent the attributes of sincerity and acts of pure goodness. Besides this, such flowers also send the meaning of sweet remembrance and blissful memories.

What does a Red Gladiolus Blossom Symbolize?

A red gladiolus flower is known as flowers for Gladiators who have fought with their lives. The red of these petals represents the blood spilled. Surprisingly, would you believe that these flowers also symbolize love at first sight? Well, they truly do and it also symbolizes one’s love and passion.

What does a Pink Gladiolus Flower Indicate?

The pink gladiolus flower meaning is usually associated with women and their notable charm. These pink flowers are no different! These flowers embody feminine beauty and grace. Aside from this, it also indicates one’s true admiration and a mother’s love.

What does a Yellow Gladiolus Flower Represent?

Being armed and ready is what yellow gladiolus flowers represent! Aside from such warrior traits, the yellow gladiolus flower meaning also denotes morality and dignity. 

What does an Orange Gladiolus Flower Symbolize?

Give me a break!” is the message orange Sword lily flowers send! An orange gladiolus flower meaning speaks of your deepest infatuations towards someone you admire!

What does a Purple Gladiolus Flower Mean?

Purple gladiolus flowers convey the meaning of integrity and values. These flowers also portray a natural grace caught in between the middle of a garden.

What does a Green Gladiolus Floret Represent?

Green gladiolus flowers represent generosity and kindness. Very soft and velvety like the grass, it is also a reminder of serenity and harmony. 

pink gladiolus

What is the Biblical Significance of Gladiolus Blooms?

In the Christian faith, the gladioli was symbolic of a sword that pierced Mary’s heart during the Crucifixion of Christ. The flowers were also believed to symbolize the Holy Spirit which is the Divine word of God. 

The faithful believe that these blooms grew abundantly in the Holy land and along the coast of Africa. It is said to be the flower representing Mother Mary’s months. The gladiola honors Her many feasts such as Her Assumption, Birth, and Sorrow.

What is the Cultural Significance of Gladiolus Flowers?

In ancient China, the gladiolus flower is often used in special religious ceremonies. This isn’t the gleeful feasts you think of. Instead, these flowers are decorated in funerals and wake to help the souls of the dead to find their way to heaven.

What are the Folktales Associated with the Gladiolus Plant?

The Cambridgeshire people have a very interesting tale about the gladiolas. They believe that combining red and white flowers in one bouquet or vase is bad luck! It is a motif for being unlucky and a foretelling of sudden death! Whatever you do, make sure you try not to assemble red and white gladioli flowers together!

In Greek mythology, the flower gladiolus was symbolic of the Greek goddess Demeter. She was the goddess of agriculture and good harvest.

What is the Spiritual Meaning of Gladiolus Flowers?

In the language of flowers, the Sword Lilies aid in developing and opening the body’s casual flow of chakra. These blooms promote a psychic spiritual connection between the mind and body. It helps form this connection by initiating and encouraging forward movement in the journey. 

Such spiritual influence actually brings more gladness and joy into everyday life. Once the foundation is reached, an increasing abundance of love and life are bound for you. 

The fire burning within the soul is also influenced by the Gladiola. It raises the good vibrations all around helping clear the conscience in preparation for transition and transformation.

What does a Gladioli Floral Tattoo Symbolize?

The Gladioli are associated with the birth month flower of August. For daring people, this choice of tattoo design portrays exquisite style and serene grace. Most individuals who prefer this would fancy being seen as strong-willed and courageous. 

Uses of Gladiolus Plants

The gladioli bloom is ideally an amazing cut flower and floral garden ornament. You can easily have these flowers in your garden when the plant’s corms are ready for planting. Once in full bloom, you can take a sharp knife and harvest it as flower food or ornament. 

It is not a surprise that this is among the top eight world cut flowers in the floral trade industry! There are many special offers when you put your first order of gladiolus seeds on online flower shops. Florists even say that it’s a great idea for a Valentine’s day bouquet for your loved ones. 

Aside from being an amazing ornamental plant, the gladiolus also has claimed medicinal properties and medicinal purposes like many other flowers. The flowers though can cause an allergic reaction. 

The Zulu and Sotho people also practice the traditional uses of this plant. Corms and flowers are a common staple food and medicine in their tribes. Fresh corms are boiled in water and consumed as a remedial drink. 

In the 17th century, traditional British folk also used the corm mixed with goat’s milk to treat baby’s with colic. 

The people of Kwazulu-Natal in Africa create an infusion from its corms and lower leaves as a remedy for common coughs and colds. They also practice soaking the petals in water and are left to bask under the sun to soothe symptoms of skin irritation on the feet. 

A word of caution that it is a must to always consult a medical professional before using this plant or any part of it for medical purposes.

~ image source: depositphotos/

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