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CROCOSMIA

Image of Crocosmia

James H. Schutte

Family

Iridaceae

Botanical Name

CROCOSMIA

Plant Common Name

Crocosmia, Montbretia

General Description

A brilliant presence in the summer garden, crocosmias are somewhat cold-tender herbaceous perennials native to South Africa. Although represented by several species in the wild, they are best known in gardens by their hybrid cultivars. In summer, spreading clumps of sword-like leaves give rise to tall, slender stems topped with arching flower spikes. The tubular orange, red or yellow flowers have six lobes that flare at the tips. Plants grow from bulb-like corms that spread by underground stolons. Numerous cultivars are available, including some dating back 100 years or more. Among the most familiar are the fiery red 'Lucifer' and the orange, red-blotched 'Emily McKenzie.'

These plants are striking in the sunny border when grown in fertile, well-drained soil. In colder climates, mulching will improve winter hardiness, or the corms can be lifted and stored. Visited in the wild by sunbirds, the flowers also attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and are excellent for cutting. Many crocosmias are vigorous spreaders, and have escaped the garden in some areas. They should be divided every few years to maintain a relatively compact clump.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 3

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    18"-60" / 45.7cm - 152.4cm (36)

  • Width

    1'-3' / 0.3m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    South Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Red, Orange

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No