August Birth Flowers: Exploring Bright Gladiolus and Poppy

Published April 14, 2021
Beautiful gladiolus flowers

Your two choices for an August birth flower are gladiolus and poppy. Each has a lot to offer as a garden flower or birthday bouquet. Both August flower choices are very showy and colorful, and each has specific attributes that make it a highly prized garden flower as well as a bouquet favorite.

Gladiolus as the August Birth Flower

The classic perennial Gladiolus is part of the iris family and a genus of perennial cormous flowering plants. Gladiolus is often called sword lily or glads. The blooms are large and supported by tall flower spikes. If you're looking for a magnificent, showy flower that makes an amazing cut flower, gladiolus will surpass all expectations.

blooms of Gladiolus

The gladiolus blooms appear to be stacked funnel shapes that fan out around the top of the blooms. With all the available colors, you're sure to find the color(s) you want for your garden. Gladiolus comes in almost every color you can imagine.

Gladiolus Meanings and Symbolism

The word gladiolus comes from the Latin word gladius, which means sword. One of the stories about gladiolus is from Ancient Rome when gladiators supposedly wore gladiolus corms as talismans of protection when they fought. The flower stands for strength-something gladiators needed-and integrity, another trait of gladiators who valued honor and integrity as much as they did strength.

When you send someone a gladiolus or arrangement with gladioli, the meaning conveyed is that you are enamored of the person. The message is that the person has pierced your heart, like cupid's arrow, or more accurately, like a sword. The different gladiolus colors have specific meanings. You can use these meanings to support the message you wish to send to someone on their August birthday.

  • Green - generous, sincere
  • Orange - sensual love, attraction
  • Pink - love, tenderness
  • Purple - strength, admiration
  • Red - passionate and powerful love
  • White - prosperity, innocence
  • Yellow - happiness, joy

Another traditional message when sending gladioli to someone is that you remember them. This is typically a good memory the two of you share, and the gladiolus is a reminder. If someone is struggling with a personal battle of some kind, sending a gladiolus or a bouquet of gladioli to them sends the message to stay in the fight, have courage, and remain strong in their conviction.

How to Grow Gladiolus

Growing gladiolus is easy and gives your garden a magnificent centerpiece. Gladioli are perennials that grown from corms, which are a type of bulb-like storage organ you plant underground. You can expect gladioli to grow between two to six feet tall for a truly stunning and showy addition to your cut-flower garden.

Plant Gladiolus Corms in Full Sun

Plant the gladiolus corms in the spring once the threat of frost has passed. Choose a sunny area where the soil drains well. Gladioli can tolerate partial shade but will bloom better in full sunlight.

Soil and Water

The soil should be rich and fertile. Gladioli require no less than one-inch of water each week. They don't have wet feet, however, so avoid wet, soggy soil conditions.

Gladiolus Pests and Disease

The common gladioli pests include aphids, thrips, and spider mites. The diseases you may need to combat include fusarium wilt (gladiolus corm rot), plant viruses, gray mold, and aster yellow.

Poppy as the August Flower

Poppy types can be annual, perennial, or biennial. There are 12 poppy species that are part of the plant family Papaveraceae. Poppies are very easy to grow. The poppy (Papaver rhoeas L.) is commonly used in landscaping.

red poppy flowers

Meanings and Symbolism

The poppy has several meanings and symbolisms. Poppies have long been a symbol of death and can be found engraved on many older tombstones and grave markers as symbol of eternal sleep. Likewise, the California state flower is the poppy. Specifically, the official state flower is the Eschscholzia californica.

These tissue paper-like blooms are available in bright colors of red, white, orange, pink, and purple. You may find the meanings of each color helpful in choosing your favorite to plant or send to someone with an August birthday.

  • Orange - death and eternal rest
  • Pink - success, riches
  • Purple - honors service animals killed in war
  • Red - consolation, remembrance, blood, resurrection
  • White - peace, rest

How to Grow Poppies

Plant poppy seeds in a sunny location in your garden, field, or meadow. The flowers will survive in poor soil as well as medium conditioned soil. In the fall, you can divide the poppies. To ensure your flowers continue to bloom and produce to their optimum, dead-head the flowers.


Poppy plants don't need a lot of water. Too much water will produce leggy plants while stunting the production of flowers.

Types of Poppies

You can grow this flower in your garden or flower bed. You have several choices of poppies. Decide on the best type to fit with other flowers in your garden design.

  • Oriental poppy - large and showy
  • Armenian poppy - smallest
  • California poppy - self-seeding and prolific producer of blooms
  • Flanders poppy - tissue paper red poppies worn in tribute
  • Corn poppy - easy to grow, early bloomer; flower of remembrance

Most Types of Poppies Are Toxic

To some degree, the majority of poppies are toxic. Poppy species contain alkaloids. These are poisonous compounds that can have extreme physical consequences if ingested, such as asphyxiation, convulsions, and even death. You should keep children and pets away from poppies.

Illegal Poppy Type

In the United States, it is illegal to grow poppy (Papaver somniferum), since the pods are used to make powerful drugs, such as opium and heroin. However, this is the same plant used to harvest poppy seeds for baked goods.

Dynamic Flowers for August Birthdays

You have two very dynamic choices for your August birth flower. The gladiolus and the poppy will make bold and vivid shows of texture and color in your garden, and they can serve as visually stunning gifts. They also make artful social media posts for people with August birthdays, so snap a photo and share a positive August quote to inspire the birthday person.

August Birth Flowers: Exploring Bright Gladiolus and Poppy