Gladioli Mosaic Virus – Managing Symptoms Of Gladiolus Mosaic

Gladiolus is a classic, summer-blooming bulb/corm that many associate with grandma’s house. The tall, vertical stems packed with colorful blooms are featured in many cutting gardens for midsummer bouquets. When issues like mosaic occur, this can naturally be alarming. Good cultural control can help prevent mosaic virus in gladiolus.

Gladiolus Plants with Mosaic Virus

Gladioli mosaic virus infects gladiolus as well as other bulb plants, vegetables, field legumes, and common weeds. Both bean yellow mosaic virus and cucumber mosaic virus are transmitted by aphids moving from plant to plant or through tools used to gather flowers and corms.

Mosaic virus produces mild symptoms unless a combination of BYMV and CMV are transmitted, then symptoms are more severe. Symptoms of gladiolus mosaic include a dark to light green or yellow mottling of leaves that are sometimes hard to see. Flowers may show a white variegation. Narrow-striped break patterns also have been noted in flower coloration.

Infection by BYMV can reduce by one-third the number of gladiolus corms produced. Also expect a shorter lifespan in gladiolus plants with mosaic.

Gladiolus Mosaic Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure for mosaic virus. The best method of control is to use stock that is tested virus free.

Gladiolus that is determined to be infected should be removed and destroyed to prevent transmission of the virus to other susceptible plants. Corms also can be infected during storage through aphid attacks.

The following methods of cultural control can help prevent widespread mosaic infection in healthy plants:

  • Purchase virus-free seedling cultivars.
  • Control aphids with appropriate insecticides.
  • Avoid planting gladiolus near beans, clover and other legumes.
  • Frequently disinfect tools in a 10 percent bleach solution before using.
  • Consider covering plants with a fine mesh screen to deter aphids and other insects.
  • Eliminate weeds. 

Practicing vigilance in the garden can help keep gladiolus and other susceptible plants free from mosaic virus.

Susan Albert

After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in English, Susan pursued a career in communications. In addition, she wrote garden articles for magazines and authored a newspaper gardening column for many years. She contributed South-Central regional gardening columns for four years to While living in Oklahoma, she served as a master gardener for 17 years.