General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 7a -17.8 °C (0 °F) to -15 °C (5 °F)
Plant Height: 2 to 3 feet (60-90 cm)
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Purple
Bi-Color: White/maroon center
Bloom Size: 2"-3"
Flower Time: Late summer or early fall
Underground structures: Corm
Uses: Cut Flower
Propagation: Other methods: Offsets
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Goes Dormant
Awards and Recognitions: RHS AGM

Common names
  • Peacock Orchid
  • Abyssinian Gladiolus
  • Fragrant Gladiolus
  • Sword Lily
  • Gladiolus
  • Gladiola
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Gladiolus murielae
  • Synonym: Gladiolus callianthus
  • Synonym: Acidanthera bicolor
  • Synonym: Acidanthera murielae
Also sold as:
  • Acidanthera bicolor 'Murielae'
  • Gladiolus 'Murieliae'
  • Acidanthera callianthus

This plant is tagged in:
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  • Posted by eclayne (Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA - Zone 6a) on Apr 16, 2014 7:54 PM concerning plant:
    Assuming that what I grow is in fact G. murielae, much of the literature underestimates its potential height. Last year was my first growing these, and in full sun and rich sandy loam my plants easily exceeded 4 feet in height. As recommended, I kept the soil constantly moist.
    Some, but not all corms, flowered as Crocosmia 'Emberglow' reached its peak bloom. The pure white in the flowers works well with scarlet red. Bloom stalks continued to appear right up to first frost, at which point I cut them down and lifted them for winter storage. As 2013 was my first year growing these, I don't know whether this bloom cycle will occur again this year. As of a few days ago, all corms had overwintered well, stored in a box of peat in the basement. A bonus is the numerous white, pea-sized cormels they produced!
  • Posted by gardengus (Indiana Zone 5b) on May 31, 2013 8:23 PM concerning plant:
    I purchase these little bulbs every year. They have the most lovely smell.
    Planted closely in the center of a large pot, they give vertical presence, much like the popular spike, and they also produce a fragrant flower in the latter part of the summer.
  • Posted by Oberon46 (Chester, VA - Zone 7b) on Nov 14, 2011 12:01 PM concerning plant:
    I have had these for two years and they are really lovely. The bloom sort of hangs on the end of a slightly downward facing short stem from the main branch, but the flowers show up well. It is so delicate and unusual.
  • Posted by dnrevel (Michigan - Zone 6a) on Apr 28, 2022 8:13 AM concerning plant:
    I also see this bulb listed as Gladiolus Acidanthera, also with the name Peacock orchid. Got the diminutive bulbs as part of a white and yellow flower garden kit with no labeling other than the photo. Planted and will see what happens. Will treat as gladiolus in Michigan, lifting in fall to overwinter indoors. Looking forward to seeing what the fragrance is like and how well they do in soil with mulch and compost. Will add in some perlite and sand per recommendations.

    Note that the plant is known by many names, including Gladiolus murielae, Gladiolus callianthus, Abyssinian gladiolus and peacock orchid.
  • Posted by LoriMT (Dawsonville, GA - Zone 7b) on Jul 28, 2022 7:36 AM concerning plant:
    This plant does not work particularly well in my Zone 7b North Georgia Mountains garden. In some summers, I am able to get spring-planted corms to bloom, but many times in first season, and almost always in second season and onward, the foliage spikes grow, but there are no flowers. When the spikes do bloom, only one or two flowers open at a time, with the previously opened blooms dangling as unsightly blobs, distracting from the beauty of the open flower. For me, this plant is not worth the space or effort to grow.
  • Posted by flaflwrgrl (North Fl. - Zone 8b) on Nov 3, 2012 5:10 PM concerning plant:
    A fellow ATP member sent me 2 little bulbs of this around 1 yr. ago. I planted them & they did not show any green shoots until late spring this year when the leaves shot up quickly to 2 - 2.5 feet. It has been an agreeable, easy care plant. Today I got the first bloom open on them. Lovely! And the fragrance! The fragrance is so heady & not the type that you have to literally stick your nose into the flower to smell it. There are 2 more buds coming along. I can't wait!

    Thank you, Charlene, for gifting me with these!
  • Plant Events from our members
    jmorth On July 26, 2014 Bloomed
    piksihk On October 21, 2021 Bloomed
    Window box
    piksihk On November 17, 2019 Bloomed
    WG big black pot
    piksihk On October 31, 2017 Bloomed
    One bloom- transplanted to frt bed/master, dining window, and side front- WG
    piksihk On November 30, 2015 Bloomed
    in blue container
    piksihk On September 22, 2014 Bloomed
    one bloom
    piksihk On June 14, 2014 Plant emerged
    piksihk On May 1, 2014 Obtained plant
    planted front bed/east end
    thequeen770 On March 18, 2017 Obtained plant
    End of season bulb purchase from pikes or walmart
    dnrevel On April 25, 2022 Seeds sown
    Planted about 10 - 12 small bulbs in sunny spot near the west side of the new greenhouse.
    » Post your own event for this plant

    Discussion Threads about this plant
    Thread Title Last Reply Replies
    Peacock Orchid by hampartsum May 15, 2022 12:01 PM 5

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