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I'm so Gladiolus that You Were Born: August Birthday Flowers

Friday August 16th 2013

Everyone knows about birthstones, but did you know there are also birth flowers? Birth flowers are just as lavish as genuine birthstones at a fraction of the price; they are the ideal birthday gift. Tell a friend or loved one with a birthday this month that you are "glad" they were born by sending them an August flower arrangement full of some gorgeous gladioli birthday flowers! The bright, stunning colors of these flowers rival the beauty of any gemstone. Gladiolus, also known as sword lily is the August birth flower. Gladioli is the plural of gladiolus, often called glads for short.

August Birth Month Flower: Gladiolus


Image via Flickr by St. John's Flower Guild

Gladioli are an old fashioned favorite. I remember with great fondness traipsing through the rows of this August flower in my grandmother's garden. Glads make an excellent, long lasting cut flower, and my grandmother grew rows of them in the garden just for the purpose of cutting them and using them in floral arrangements. The August flower of the month has a 1-4 foot tall spiked stems loaded with full blossoms from one to five inches in diameter on one side of the stem. Flowers are clustered one on top of the other and they may bloom simultaneously or one after the other. There are 260 species of glads appearing in pinks, reds, purples, mauves, yellows, oranges, and white -- every color except for blue, and some are even bi-colored. There are miniature, giant, and ruffled versions of the August birth month flower as well. This flower comes from a corm, which is similar to a bulb, and blooms in July and August primarily but can bloom all the way into fall. Gladiolus arrangements make great centerpieces and focal points due to their tall spikes and showy flowers.

History of the Gladiolus

The August birth flower comes from Africa but has been in the Mediterranean for centuries and was known of in ancient Greece; some varieties were even in existence in ancient England and used to draw out foreign bodies such as splinters and treat colic. In Africa the gladioli corms were roasted or boiled and eaten. Africans also used Gladioli for medicinal purposes, mostly as a treatment for digestive ailments of diarrhea, dysentery, and constipation but also to relieve menstrual cramps. Gladioli are named from the Latin word gladius, which means sword, and they were named for their long, slender sword shaped leaves. This August flower has historically been a hard working plant!


In the language of flowers, gladioli mean "I'm really sincere" and are known as the flowers of the gladiators because of their sword shaped leaves. Other meanings of the August birth month flower are remembrance, strength of character, and love at first site communicating to the recipient of the gift that he or she "pierces the heart. This makes them an excellent flower to send for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Different cultures associate flowers with different meanings, which is why there are usually multiple meanings for the same flower. The August flower of the month can send a meaningful message no matter what the event!


Image via Flickr by madame.furie

Be sure to order your gladiolus flowers before August is over--however, glads are not just for August birth flower arrangements--they are perfect for many occasions. Here are some links that will give you more information on the gladiolus:

Origins of Fall Flowers

The Language of Flowers

Gladiolus (pdf)

Pacific Bulb Society: Gladiolus


Posted by Ava Rose in General
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