The present study was initiated to elucidate the performance of two internationally acclaimed cultivars of Gladiolus grandiflorus, Summer Rose and Friendship and to find the effect of three planting dates on growth, production and quality of flowers. Ethiopia is a grower and exporter of cut flowers but gladiolus has not found a place among the flowers cultivated and traded probably due to inadequacy of planting material and lack of scientific information on the crop. Henceforth, the study was conducted to evaluate two prominent varieties and three planting dates on growth and flowering of gladiolus. The studies revealed that the variety Summer Rose performed excellently well as regards the vegetative and floral characters and is ideal for undertaking cultivation by commercial flower growers for export purposes. The variety Friendship also exhibited good performance in terms of growth and flowering and could be quite suitable for flower production for the Ethiopian domestic markets. Among three planting dates tested, planting corms during mid-April indicated better growth performance and produced good quality flower spikes.
Key words: Gladiolus, varieties, planting dates, growth, flowering.