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Gladiolus 'Black Surprise'

sword lily 'Black Surprise'

A cormous perennial, 90cm high, with green sword-shaped leaves and dramatic deep purple flowers, held on spikes of up to 10 velvety blooms. This glamourous corm flowers from late summer and into autumn

Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Purple Green
Autumn Purple Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

East–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H3
Botanical details
Family
Iridaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Columnar upright
Potentially harmful
Ornamental bulbs, not to be eaten. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling. Pets: Harmful if eaten. For further information and contact numbers regarding pets, see the HTA guide to potentially harmful plants
Genus

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

Name status

Unresolved

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun, planting the corms 15cm deep in spring, on a bed of sharp sand to aid drainage; in frost-prone areas, lift when the leaves turn yellow-brown, and store the new corms in a dry, frost-free place until the following spring; in milder areas, add a thick dry mulch over winter

Propagation

Propagate by division, separating cormlets when dormant

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Wall side borders
  • Cut flowers
Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

May be susceptible to gladiolus thrip, aphids and slugs

Diseases

May be susceptible to gladiolus corm rot, grey moulds (Botrytis), Fusarium bulb rot, gladiolus core rot, gladiolus dry rot, gladiolus scab and neck rot, fungal leaf spot, and virus diseases

Get involved

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