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Flower of the month July

Sometimes it’s hard to choose, particularly when there are three magnificent summer flowers on offer. That is why the gladiolus, snapdragon and sunflower are on the Flower Agenda together as a trio in July. So different in terms of background, shape and colour, and so powerful together.

The gladiolus originates from Africa and is a classic summer bloomer. The name Gladiolus comes from Latin and means ‘small sword’, a reference to the sword-shaped leaves. The name symbolises strength and victory. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum in Latin) originates from southern Europe and North Africa. The name Antirrhinum is derived from the Greek meaning ‘flower resembling a nose’, referring to the snapdragon’s unusual flower shape. The sunflower (a.k.a. Helianthus) originally came from the southern and western United States. Sunflowers were brought to Europe by Spanish sailors in 1530. Helianthus derives its name from the Greek words for sun (Helios) and flower (Anthos).

The gladiolus is available in almost every colour of the rainbow and in bicoloured varieties. The flower shape ranges from smooth-edged to fringed and from large-flowered to small-flowered, which include the colvillii and primulinus species.
We particularly know the sunflower in its yellow incarnation (think Van Gough), but there are also cream, brown, orange and even bicoloured versions. The flower size can range from 5-15 cm (small-flowered, often topped and branched) through to 15-30 cm (large-flowered varieties, low in pollen, often not topped and not branched). There are even varieties where the flower stands upright.
The snapdragon is available in many colours and stem lengths. Alongside the single-coloured varieties we are increasingly seeing bicoloured and multicoloured flowers in the range.


  • Store gladioli cool and dry for a few days so that they do not open to quickly. You can place them in water after a couple of days.
  • Place gladioli and snapdragons upright in order to prevent the tops from curving.
  • Place the flowers in clean vase with clean water and preservative.
  • Trim 5-10 cm off the stems with a clean, sharp knife or secateurs.
  • Do not allow the flowers or leaves to get damp - this causes botrytis.
  • When making bouquets and floral work take account of the length and weight of the flowers. All three of them are pretty chunky.

Display tips for professionals
With their colorful appearance and robust shapes these three summer stars are very well suited to cheerful summery bouquets and arrangements. Think of a field bouquet, table decoration or parallel arrangement because of the stretched shapes of the gladiolus and snapdragon and the sunflower’s round shape. A vase or container filled with one type of summer flower steals the show at summer parties and barbecues.