Gladiolus Flowers Meaning And Symbolism

What is more beautiful than a vase filled with delightful Gladiolus flowers of all colors?  The tall stem with its six unique, long pointed-shaped blooms is a joy to behold.  But what is the meaning and symbolism of the Gladiolus Flower?

The Gladiolus flower symbolizes love, desire, togetherness, and hope. The meaning of this flower is strength and integrity, which is taken from the ancient Gladiators. It is the symbol for the birth month of August and a 40th wedding anniversary. Gladiolus is the flower of sincerity and remembrance.

Gladiolus flowers are found in tropical Africa, South Africa, Asia, and Mediterranean Europe.  It has a history with Gladiators and early American women, and this lovely flower has many meanings and symbols.  It’s all in this article, so read on!

Gladiolus/Gladioli or Sword-Lily

The Gladiolus plant had also been named “Xiphium,” which is taken from the Greek word “Xiphos,” meaning “sword”.  The flower earned the name from its leaves, which look like little Roman swords.  Because of this shape, the word “sword” in Latin is “Gladius”.   The common name for this plant is Gladioli (plural for Gladiolus) and is sometimes called the “Sword Lily.”

In ancient Rome, Gladiators wore Gladioli corms (like a bulb) around their necks during battle to help them win and protect them from death.  Because of this association with Gladiators, the Gladioli’s flower meaning is strength and integrity.

Gladioli are a more old-fashioned flower that was grown by early American women.  These women would plant the flowers to create a wall of color on the outside back edges of their gardens.  This attractive, showy flower is used for floral displays at many events and special spiritual occasions in modern times.

Gladiolus Cultural Symbol

Gladiolus flowers have the following symbolic beliefs and traditions:

August Symbolic Birth Flower

In the early 1800 s, the language of flowers was introduced by Mary Wortley Montague, who named a symbolic flower for each month of the year.  Anyone born in a particular month will have inherited the characteristics of their birth flower.

Gladiolus was named one of the two birth flowers for August.  If you were born in August, your birth flower, the Gladioli, represents remembrance, calm, integrity, and a heart pierced by love.

40th Wedding Anniversary Symbolic Flower

The Gladioli flower is one of the flowers chosen to symbolize a 40th Wedding Anniversary.  The Gladioli brings infatuation, sincerity, and admiration to the couple celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

Medicinal Symbol

In ancient times the Gladiolus plant was used for medicine.  The seeds of the plants were mashed up and used to draw out splinters and thorns.  The mashed paste was mixed with milk and used to relieve colic.

African tribes brew the leaves to relieve diarrhea, constipation, and colds.  Some tribes use the brew to improve mood and energy levels.

What Is The Meaning Of The Gladiolus Flower?

The Gladiolus flower is strongly associated with love, and the sword-like leaves symbolize piercing the heart with love.  This symbol is a powerful meaning of love between two people.  The many beautiful colors of the Gladiolus have their own meaning, but the universal meaning of the flower is:

  • Infatuation – the deep feeling of admiration for someone, either romantic or platonic.
  • Remembrance – symbolizes remembering the good times and people in your past.
  • Faithfulness – to be fully committed to someone in love or friendship.
  • Sincerity and Integrity – being sincere in your feelings and doing things the right way.
  • Never gives up – a symbol of overcoming challenges and showing internal strength, just like the Gladiators of old.  The Gladiolus plant is also resilient as it can grow where other plants struggle to take root.
  • Happiness and Friendship – the flower embodies the love between friends and the happiness the friendship brings, hoping that the union will last a long time.

Different Color Gladiolus Flowers And Their Meanings

The varied colors of the Gladiolus flowers do not have a meaning of their own but rather take on the meaning of the color. 

Color of the Gladiolus FlowerMeaning of the flower
Pinkfeminine traits, compassion, and motherly love
Redto love with passion, romantic, sometimes aggression
Yellowbeing joyful, sincere friendship and positivity
Purplecharming, graceful, mysterious, and of the nobility
Orangeradiates energy, joy, and positivity
Whitespirituality, innocence, and purity
Greenrebirth, renewal, to start over
Bluedesire, togetherness, hope, secretive and mysterious
Bi-colorcarries the meaning of both colors

Gladiolus Flower Tattoo Symbolism And Meaning

If you plan to get a tattoo, the lovely Gladioli flower has a special meaning.  It symbolizes honor and protection, the quality which lies within you or in honor of someone dear to you.

  • The Gladioli flower tattoo in a woman symbolizes someone who has grace and style and also self-confidence.
  • The Gladioli flower tattoo in men symbolizes strength and integrity and a wealth of self-reliance.

Gladiolus Flower Gifting Symbolism And Meaning

The gifting and receiving of Gladiolus flowers, on special occasions or for romantic gestures, have beautiful symbolic meanings.  The symbolism is strengthened further by the meaning of the color of the flower.

  • Gifting or receiving Gladiolus flowers on Valentine’s Day, or for any romantic gesture, symbolizes unyielding faithfulness and a commitment to your partner. 
  • Sending Gladioli flowers as a message of support to a loved one or friend symbolizes strength, either the strong feeling you have for them or the message to stay strong in every situation.
  • A gift of Gladioli flowers to someone you care about symbolizes infatuation, romantic or platonic.  After all, Gladioli flowers are tall and beautiful and not that easy to ignore.
  • Giving Gladioli flowers as a thank you gift symbolizes integrity and conveys the message that you will not forget what they have done for you or mean to you.
  • A message of condolences sent with a bunch of Gladioli flowers symbolizes remembrance of the past.

Gladiolus Flowers In Dreams And What It Means

To dream of Gladiolus, in different scenarios, has various messages.  Here are a few interpretations of some dreams.

Dreaming of Gladioli flowers symbolizes progress in real life.  You take the long way and avoid shortcuts, but this is the better choice in the long run.  Stay true to yourself and do not compromise.

If you dream of receiving Gladioli flowers, it symbolizes unrequited love.  Someone you favor romantically only likes you as a friend, and they let you know this.  However, you look for any meaning or suggestion from their side to prove otherwise.

Gifting someone Gladiolus flowers in your dream means that you accept your flaws and imperfections.  Although you blame yourself for not achieving the goals you set for yourself, you are now not even sure if it was what you wanted!  You have now made peace with yourself and can move forward to new goals.

The color of the Gladiolus flower in your dreams also has a special meaning.  To dream of a yellow flower means you have success in your current job.  Dreaming of a white flower means that someone is trying to trick you, and an orange flower means you radiate positive energy. 

To dream of a purple Gladiolus flower means you are aware of your physical and intellectual qualities and are not afraid to show this.  Dreaming of pink flowers is a sign of vulnerability and going through a difficult stage.  Red flowers in your dream mean that an emotional crisis has allowed you and your partner to become emotionally close.

Gladiolus Flower Secret Message

Behind every flower is a secret message which encourages us to see life from a different perspective.  Flowers open our eyes and minds to new experiences.  The secret message of the Gladiolus flower is:

  • Be unique; don’t be afraid of being different.  The Gladiolus flower has a peculiar appearance but stands strong and erect and defies anyone who does not see its unique beauty.  Celebrate your uniqueness!


The Gladiolus flower symbolizes strength, integrity, and resilience to overcome challenges.  A powerful symbol of love and faithfulness is meant when giving and receiving this beautiful flower.  The Gladiolus flower is the birth flower for August and represents sincerity, remembrance, calm, integrity and a heart pierced by love.