Gladiolus Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Gladioli are lovely plants which produce huge towers of vivid color, often bi-colors. 

While its beauty can be distracting, and you may think that’s all there is to this flower, there is much more to this bloom than you might assume at the first glance. 

The symbolism of a gladiolus isn’t as widely known as rose symbolism, for example, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less interesting, or that its message is any less important when given as a gift.

What does ‘Gladiolus’ Mean?

You might think that the word gladiolus looks pretty similar to gladiator. You would be right. In Latin, the word gladiator translates as swordsman, and gladius, means sword. 

In Latin, the word gladius broadly means sword, but it also specifically refers to the sword Ancient Roman foot soldiers used. 

The Greeks named this plant xiphium, which comes from the Greek xiphos, translated as sword. The towering flower spike does look pretty similar!

What do Gladioli Symbolize?

While the meaning of a gladiolus flower varies according to its color, there is some universal symbolism. They present honesty, faithfulness, honor, and love.

This lofty flowers embody resilience, overcoming problems, and holding a deep admiration or affection for someone.

What does a Red Gladiolus Symbolize?

Red gladiolus flowers represent love, romance, and a deep desire for someone. They can also symbolize aggression, but you probably don’t want to get those two confused!

What does a Yellow Gladiolus Represent?

Yellow gladioli represent joy, friendship, and positivity, like most yellow flowers. 

Because there’s a “harder edge” to these flowers with them being sword-like, they also represent the resilience that happiness and friendship can add into your life.  

It’s also a message that you hope that this connection between you will last through your lifetime, as it’s that profound. 

What does a White Gladiolus Signify?

White gladiolus flowers indicate innocence and spirituality. They are popular choices for wedding flowers and other religious ceremonies.

What does a Purple Gladiolus Mean?

Purple gladioli symbolizes grace and beauty, and sometimes a royal or otherworldly quality. 

What does a Bi-colored Gladiolus Represent?

Bi-colored flowers are particularly beautiful, and their meaning is two-fold. The blooms carry the meaning of both colors within the flower itself, which can make for a multi-layered meaning. 

What is the Cultural Significance Behind the Gladioli?

In Ancient Rome, gladiolus flowers stood for might and power, due to their sword-like appearance.

Gladioli grow naturally in hot and dry conditions, where other plants would simply die, making this plant a symbol of resilience. 

Gladioli can be seen in some places as old-fashioned, though this plant has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity due to its drought-tolerant conditions. 

People are becoming more climate-conscious, and are trying to future-proof their gardens. 

What does a Gladiolus Tattoo Mean?

Gladioli in tattoos represent strength and a wealth of self-reliance, as well as grace and beauty. They also symbolize honor and protection, thanks to the sword symbolism. 

A gladioli tattoo can embody these qualities in yourself, or in honor of someone else who is dear to you.

When should You Give Someone Gladioli?

Gladioli flowers are a great gift for Valentine’s Day and for any romantic occasion, as they mean faithfulness. 

It represents your commitment to your partner, and this symbolism can be strengthened in the color of the flowers.

These plants can represent resilience, both in their growing conditions and in their size. They make a good option for when you want to send a message of support or of love to lift someone’s mood. 

They also help in outlining to the person how much they mean to you, as these tall flowers are pretty difficult to ignore. 

Because of the connotations with the sword, each meaning refines into a weightier version of itself. 

Love becomes all-consuming, and faithfulness means forever. It’s not quite solemn, but the undertones are less light-hearted than other flower symbolism. 

A message of gratitude conveys that you’ll never forget what someone has done for you. 

You can also use these flowers in addition to others to add another level of sincerity or honesty to your message, further deepening the meaning of your message without changing its original meaning.

A message of friendship becomes a deeper connection. A romantic love transforms into an unyielding faithfulness. 

A note of remembrance becomes forever. The meaning of a “thank you” becomes a deep expression of gratitude, and so on. 

Gladioli flowers are appropriate for many occasions, as they create a showy display that is impossible to ignore. These tall blooms also represent gratitude and to show your thanks to someone. 

In a situation where you might not have the right words to express exactly how you feel, flowers are always a versatile option to go for. The right flowers will do all the talking for you.

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