This genus contains about ninety species which are among our most popular garden flowers, their stately habit and gorgeous spikes of handsome flowers making them indispensable in all gardens. While some are pure white, they contain a great variety of color, ranging through all shades of pink and red to dark crimson, and also including yellows and purples. Some varieties are beautifully flaked and striped. The Gladioli should have a deep rich soil and a sunny situation and should be generously supplied with water during the growing season, while a heavy mulching of old cow-manure about the roots assists them to perfect their flowers. Each flower-stalk should be tied to a light wooden stake to keep it from being moved or blown about by winds. As soon as the leaves begin to turn yellow in the Fall, the corms should be taken up with their tips intact, and laid in a cool dry shed to become ripened, when the tops may be cut off close to the bulb, and the corms placed in boxes, covered with dry soil and kept dry and cool until planting time. Plant the first lot of bulbs in February and the next lot in May; plant them about three inches deep, and one foot apart.
Propagate by seeds sown in early Spring and covered to the depth of a quarter of an inch, or by the small corms or bulbs which form around the old corms or on the ends of the roots. These small corms should be planted in Spring in a nursery bed and grown on for a year before being planted in the flower-border.