How to plant acidantheras (gladioli callianthus)

Acidantheras murielae or gladioli callianthus/Abyssinian gladioli are wonderful perennials producing fragrant, star-shaped, pure white flowers adorned with a deep carmine-purple blotch in the centre, above sword-like leaves. Strongly resembling the classic gladioli although they are somewhat smaller, these lovely summer flowering plants are perfect for the sunny garden border or container. Plant en masse or try mixing with agastaches, asters, dahlias or echinaceas. Gladioli callianthus make great cut flowers.

Plant around 10-15 cm deep in well-drained soil in full sun — allowing for around 50 corms per square meter. Acidantheras require a warm, sunny since they may fail to flower in cold areas. Lift before the first frost.

Always unpack on arrival and store in a cool place until ready to plant.

Potential problems, pests and diseases: 

  • Aphids: these sap-eating insects can weaken plants and spread viruses. Whenever possible, pick off by hand using gloves.

  • Snails and slugs: these pests enjoy munching on young shoots, stems, leaves and flowers. Watch out for damage!

  • Botrytis/grey mould: this fungal disease usually caused by excessive moisture, warm temperatures and poor air circulation can initially be seen as brown spots/grey mould on the leaves and stems. If you spot any signs of this disease, immediately remove affected bulbs/plants and destroy. Botrytis is an airborne virus and can spread rapidly in the breeze so do not compost infected material.

  • Gladiolus corm rots: these soil-borne bacterial/fungal diseases often occur when the soil is excessively damp/poorly aerated or when storage conditions are too humid. Attacks can generally be spotted when foliage starts to yellow/wilt and flowers begin to grow sparsely or undersized. If you suspect any issue, gently remove plant from the ground, shake off any excess soil and check corm for any signs of rot disease — infected material will display brown lesions. To prevent any risks of infestation, regularly inspect corms left in storage during the winter months, maintain good hygiene and discard any infected material at first sight before replacing contaminated soil.
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