Growing Acidanthera or
Abyssinian Gladiolus

Acidanthera are members of the Iris family and are sometimes known as Abyssinian gladiola or even misspelled as Acidenthera. Now this plant's name is actually Gladiolus callianthus

The Ethopian native loves sunny gardens and grows sword-shaped leaves approximately 24 inches tall producing a bloom in later summer or even early fall. The bloom is white, star-shaped with a centre blotch of purple.

I've grown them for their fragrance (I'm a sucker for fragrant flowers).

Where to Grow

Understand that in their native habitat, they grow high up in semi-alpine conditions found in grassy meadows or growing between rock formations in soil pockets. This is not a plant that requires superb growing conditions; in fact, overwatering and overfeeding will shorten its lifespan



it is however tender (if you were native to Ethiopia, would you like northern winters) and should be lifted in the fall and stored. (dry and warm)

As a curiosity, if you store them in the dark, the corms will remain white. But, if you store them in the light, the corms will likely turn green. Do not worry if the corm is green, plant it anyway and it will grow just fine. 


Plant them so the base of the bulb is 3 inches deep and with 5 inches between bulbs.

Container Growing

Acidanthera grow quite well in pots as long as you are careful about companions.

The container needs to be sheltered from wind, kept in the full sun and not overly watered.

Try plants such as Scaevola or gray leaved plants (like Helichrysums) that take the heat without the need for copious amounts of water.

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