• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Gladiolus papilio

butterfly sword lily

butterfly sword lily

© RHS

  • Other common names butterfly sword lily

  • Family Iridaceae

  • Genus Gladiolus are cormous perennials with fans of sword-shaped or linear leaves and spikes of funnel-shaped flowers

  • Details G. papilio is a clump-forming perennial to 1m, with narrow, grey-green leaves. From summer to autumn, arching flower stems bear up to ten hooded flowers, flushed white and lilac-purple on the outside, with purple and yellow markings on the inside of the lower petals

  • Plant range S E South Africa

Characteristics

  • Foliage Deciduous

  • Habit Columnar/Upright

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)

    H4

Colour

Sunlight

  • Full Sun

  • Aspect South-facing or West-facing or East-facing

  • Exposure Sheltered

Soil

  • Loam

    Loam

  • Chalk

    Chalk

  • Sand

    Sand

  • MoistureWell-drained, Moist but well-drained

  • SoilLoam, Chalk, Sand

  • pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral

Size

  • Ultimate height 0.5-1 metres

  • Ultimate spread 0.1-0.5 metres

  • Time to ultimate height 2-5 years

How to grow

Cultivation Plant 10 to 16cm deep on a bed of sharp sand in fertile, well-drained soil. Lift when foliage dies back, discard old corms and store new corms in a dry frost-free place until planting in the spring. In milder areas a thick dry winter mulch may suffice

Propagation Propagate by separating cormlets when dormant

Suggested planting locations and garden types Flower borders and beds Cut Flowers Cottage & Informal Garden

How to care

Pruning No pruning required

Pests Susceptible to thrips, aphids and slugs

Diseases Susceptible to grey moulds and gladiolus corm rot

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