Gladiolus are native to the eastern and northwestern areas of Africa and to South Africa, portions of Sicily and Spain. The fanciful florists' plants are native to South Africa and are not hardy. The gladiolus offered by Landreth are hardy in Zones 5-10. The plants were brought to the United States in the 1700's and the original colors were white, purple and red. In Victorian times, they were so frequently used in funereal events that they became symbolic of death and lost much of their general appeal. The Nanus group of gladioli produce shorter flower spikes, but are much hardier.