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Crocosmia (kro-KOSS-mee-uh)

Common Name:  Montbretia

Light:  - Full sun to part sun

Soil:  Any average to rich, well-drained

Moisture:  Average to somewhat dry, dry in winter

Blooms:  Late summer

Zones:  (5) 6 - 9


Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia 'Walcroy'

Crocosmia Description and Cultural Information

Crocosmia hybrids. The most common Crocosmia found in commerce are the hybrids. They are relatively cold hardy (most to zone 6, some to zone 5) but if you are concerned about their survival it is best to lift them in very cold areas and store them in a cool, dry location. The flowers bloom in shades of yellow, orange, and red and range in height from about 24" to 40". The flowers rise on stems in late summer above grass-like, sword shaped foliage, somewhat resembling the foliage of Gladiolus. Hummingbirds love them plus they are excellent as cut flowers. Harvest when the flowering stems are half open and they will keep for a long time in a vase. There are many named varieties: 'Babylon' is orange with a dark center, 'Columbus' is bright yellow, 'Emberglow' is burnt orange, 'George Davidson' is a soft yellow orange, 'Walcroy', also known as Warburton Yellow, is a bright golden yellow, and 'Lucifer', one of the hardiest (to zone 5), is a brilliant scarlet red.

How to Grow:  Plant Crocosmia in full sun to part sun in any good well-drained garden soil. In moist, humus-rich soil you will get bigger foliage and increased blooms but they may struggle over the winter if they get too wet, so make sure they are planted in a well-draining location. They are easy to grow and the only time they might really struggle is when planted in or near standing water. In the coldest zones it is best to plant the bulbs/corms 5 to 6" deep to protect them in the winter, making sure the soil is very loose and well-drained down to and below the bulbs, or you can lift in the fall and store them dry for guaranteed success. Divide the bulbs in the fall after they have gone dormant or in the spring before they sprout. Self-sown seedlings are common, especially when a large colony has been established for a long time.

Landscape uses:  Crocosmia is a bold plant that can be used as a focal point in the middle or back of the garden. Plant it with other summer blooming perennials like coreopsis, tall garden phlox, daylilies, lilies, bellflowers, balloon flowers, and hardy geraniums. Crocosmias are quite vibrant with brightly colored daylilies, lilies, Rudbeckia and orange Echinacea, or you can cool them down with blue geraniums, lavender, purple coneflowers, or the silver foliage of caryopteris and butterfly bushes.

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