Thursday, July 18, 2013

Today's Favorite* Plant - Gladzilla!

My favorite* plant of the day is Gladiolus papilio (Butterfly Gladiolus) also known as "Gladzilla".

This baby knows how to spread herself around!

Each little bulb sends out underground runners that make more bulbs and eventually you have a forest of Butterfly Gladiolus coming up through EVERYTHING, which seems odd to say about a Gladiola. She is not very discrete in her conquests.

So innocent looking - Don't be fooled!
 A vigorous, easy to grow, late blooming species. Growing up to 3.5' tall, the arching bronze stems are gracefully topped by mauve buds opening into bell shaped flowers. Inside the flowers are stunning, moth shaped markings of maroon and gold. Blooms appear from mid summer thru early fall  Grows in any soil but especially enjoys rich, moist, humusy soil, rewarding you with a steadily increasing clump.
Deciduous. From South Africa. Hardy to 5 °F. 

Pretty huh?

So getting to the "*" part.

The enjoyable part about this plant is the lovely slender foliage. It is super easy to grow and has unique flowers. The bulbs don't require digging in the fall which suits my "plant it and forget it" bulb mindset. They thrive in the hottest sunny part of my garden and with a little summer water.

The bad part is its rampaging nature. It spreads like crazy and plants will come up everywhere. The flowers also tend to nod, so you have to get down to it's level or you can't really enjoy them.

In early spring when things are still pretty soppy, I begin pulling out the runners in the spots and in the plants that I don't want them. I just yank and hope I get the bulb. I hate to admit that I just throw the ones I pull out away too. Later, when they are a little more mature, I have to dig them out with a trowel, or the leaves will just break off when I pull and the bulb will remain to grow again.

A well contained clump. It was about four times larger in spring before the "reduction".
The take away today with this plant is "plant it where you want a LOT of it", because "Gladzilla" is on the rampage.


  1. Hmm...this plant seems to have a split personality: shy, delicate flower but rampaging habits.

  2. Gladzilla even has pretty yellow fangs...she's a beauty!

  3. I should have realized when Xera described it as a " a BIG rambunctious perennial" and "fully deciduous and quickly spreading to form a clump 3' tall and 60' wide" to that i was in for trouble.

  4. This is my newest favorite, too! I almost never like gladiolas, but this one is fantastic. South African bulbs are the best.

  5. It is lovely, but I think you scared even me away from it! I have enough thugs in my yard. Leucanthemum anyone?