Acidanthera is a summer-blooming bulb in the gladiolus family. The plants have upright, sword-like foliage and fragrant white flowers in late summer and early fall. Acidanthera is easy-to-grow in any sunny garden and it also grows well in containers. Known by many other names, including Gladiolus murielae, Gladiolus callianthus, Abyssinian gladiolus and peacock orchid.
SHADE AND SUN: Acidanthera should be grown in full sun. If you have a shady garden, consider planting the bulbs in pots. As the plants come into bloom, you can relocate the pots to the garden.
ZONE: Acidanthera corms are winter hardy in zones 7-11. In colder areas, either grow the bulbs as annuals or dig up the bulbs in fall and store them indoors for winter. Reference the USDA hardiness zone map HERE.
WHEN TO PLANT: These heat-loving bulbs do not tolerate freezing temperatures. If you will be planting the corms directly into your garden, don’t be too eager. Wait until the soil is warm — around tomato-planting time. If you are growing the corms in containers, you can get started a couple weeks earlier.
WHERE TO PLANT ACIDANTHERA
FLOWERBEDS AND BORDERS: Acidanthera’s upright foliage makes an attractive addition to perennial borders. The late summer flowers are a welcome surprise, blooming when most other perennials have already come and gone. Enjoy their haunting fragrance in the garden, and be sure to grow extras as they are excellent cut flowers.
CONTAINERS: Acidanthera corms are slow to get started. To make sure they don’t get overwhelmed by faster-growing plants, it’s best to plant them in pots on their own. Plant about a dozen corms per 12” pot. To extend the bloom time, consider planting a handful of corms every 2 weeks, starting at the end of April and continuing into early June.