Gladiolus vs Snapdragon: Which One is Right for Your Summer Garden?

Summer is here, and it’s time to brighten up your garden with some gorgeous blooms. Among the choices of flowers, gladiolus and snapdragon are two popular options. So, which one should you choose? 

What are Gladiolus and Snapdragon?

Gladiolus vs Snapdragon


Gladiolus, also known as sword lily, is a flowering plant from the iris family. It originates from South Africa and has sword-shaped leaves that rise from the bottom of the stem. 

Gladiolus has a striking appearance with a spike of flowers arranged along the stem. It is available in a range of colors, including yellow, cream, orange, and crimson.


A classic flower for any garden, snapdragon, also known as antirrhinum, is well loved for its floral spikes. Snapdragon is a native of Europe, but over time, it has been cultivated all over the world, including Southern Africa and tropical regions. 

It is a perennial plant that can grow up to 3 feet tall, but the dwarf varieties stand at just 18 inches tall.

Differences between Gladiolus and Snapdragon

One of the significant differences between gladiolus and snapdragon is their appearance. 

  • While gladiolus has a spike of flowers arranged along the stem, snapdragon’s floral spikes are arranged on the top of the stem. 
  • The flowers of both plants have a range of colors and a gorgeous appearance, but gladiolus’ flowers look a bit more unusual than those of snapdragons.

How to Grow Gladiolus and Snapdragon?

Planting Gladiolus and Snapdragon

Gardeners cultivate gladiolus through corms. The best time to plant corms is in the spring when the weather is cool. 

To plant, carefully place the corms into the soil, with the pointed end upwards, and cover them with about 4-inches of soil. Later, as gladiolus starts to grow, they may need staking to help support their large blooms. 

On the other hand, snapdragons are easily grown through seeds. Plant the seeds in the late winter and early spring inside, and then transplant them outside after the last frost.

Growing Conditions for Gladiolus and Snapdragon

In terms of location and sun exposure, both plants need sun, but snapdragons can also grow successfully in partial shade. 

They need regular watering when the topsoil is dry, and they are not drought-tolerant plants. 

Gladiolus blooms at the height of summer, from July through September, and prefers well-drained soil. Gardeners should water them moderately; otherwise, the corms can rot.

Trimming Gladiolus and Snapdragon

To ensure that both plants continue to look great, gardeners should trim off the faded blossoms from each stem. 

When removing a snapdragon blossom, wait until the entire bloom stalk has gone brown before removing it. 

The stalk should be cut off at the base with a pair of scissors or pruning shears. Similarly, when trimming off gladiolus blooms, cut the blossom at the base of the stem.

What is the Meaning of Gladiolus and Snapdragon?

Gladiolus Meaning

In ancient times, gladiolus meant strength and loyalty because of its sword-like shape and long-lasting blooms.

The flower had negative connotations during the time of the gladiators in Rome, where it was associated with the bloody sport because of its Latin translation meaning sword. 

Today it is known as a symbol of hard work, sincerity, and integrity, and is commonly given at graduations and awards ceremonies.

Snapdragon Meaning

The meaning of snapdragon can vary depending on its color. In general, snapdragon symbolizes grace, strength, and deception. 

Its name comes from the Greek word ‘antirrhinon,’ meaning resembling a snout, which gives us a clue as to why this flower is said to represent deception.

Genus and Species

Gladiolus Genus and Species

The botanical name for gladiolus is Gladiolus, and it belongs to the Iridaceae family. It has over 250 species and numerous hybrids that have been cultivated for gardening. 

Gladiolus is a quintessential summer flower that adds pops of color to any garden landscape.

Snapdragon Genus and Species

Snapdragon’s botanical name is Antirrhinum majus, which is part of the Plantaginaceae family. 

Classic snapdragons are the most common variety of this flower, but with more than 100 species and numerous hybrids, there are many options available for gardeners to choose from.

Popular Varieties of Gladiolus and Snapdragon

Popular Gladiolus Varieties

Afrikaner, Bold Accent, Fred Meyer, Las Vegas, and The Bride are examples of popular gladiolus varieties. 

Afrikaner has a soft pink hue with a contrasting yellow-color center, while The Bride is a creamy-white flower that produces a slight fragrance.

Popular Snapdragon Varieties

Popular snapdragon varieties include the Southern Belle, Black Prince, and the English Garden. 

The Southern Belle features deep-red, double blossoms with a remarkable fruity scent. English Garden is known for its many colors and its fragrant flowers.

Origin and Latest Trends

Origin of Gladiolus and Snapdragon

Gladiolus hails from the hot and dry regions of Southern Africa, and the species is the official flower of the Gladiolus Festival in South Africa. 

On the other hand, the origins of snapdragon can be traced back to the Mediterranean regions of Europe. 

Today, gardening enthusiasts can grow these plants all over the world by following specific growing conditions suited for each species.

Latest Trends in Gladiolus and Snapdragon Gardening

Growing a range of stunning gladiolus and snapdragon varieties has become popular among gardeners. 

For example, summer snapdragon (Angelonia) is increasingly becoming a go-to garden plant for those looking for a durable, colorful, summer bloom. 

The latest trends place emphasis on growing these summer flowers in borders, centerpieces, and containers.


Growing gladiolus and snapdragon in your garden provides an exquisite way to bring the beauty of summer into your outdoor space. 

Both plants share similar sun and watering requirements, although snapdragon is a little more flexible when it comes to shade. 

Whether you choose the sword-like leaves of gladiolus or the snout-shaped blossoms of snapdragon, you can’t go wrong with these gorgeous summertime flowers. 

So, which one are you going to cultivate in your garden this summer?

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