Crocosmia (also known as Montbretia) is a more unusual looking plant that will draw attention in any garden. Flowering in late summer, Crocosmia will liven up your garden with it’s proud, tall stems that hold vibrant orange and red flowers on their ends, combined with sword-shaped, bright green leaves.
Crocosmia prefers to be grown in clumps, which makes them even more eye-catching, as their bright red flowers will happily take up a considerable area in the borders of your garden.
Types of Crocosmia
There are many different types of Crocosmia that will all appeal for different reasons. We have listed some of the main types of Crocosmia, to help you choose one that will be right for your garden.
- Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ – This is arguably the most common type of Crocosmia, with bright red, tube-like flowers that will attract butterflies. They bloom in mid to late summer, and then their seed pods will provide food for birds in the autumn.
- Crocosmia masoniorum – This type of Crocosmia has orange, instead of red blossoms – but are equally as beautiful. They are very similar in style to the ‘Lucifer’, however, have tighter clusters of flowers.
There are also many types of Crocosmia that have been crossed with Crocosmiiflora which are equally popular and suitable for your garden. Some of these include:
- Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Carmin Brillant’ – The flowers on the ‘Carmin Brillant’ are very similar in shape to other Crocosmias, however, the flower’s colours blend from orange at the base to a bright red in the tips. This variant of the plant grows taller than many others, with the flowers standing tall above the typical sword-like leaves.
- Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Emily McKenzie’ – This type of Crocosmia has rather different flowers that are much more open – however very similar in colour to other Crocosmias. The ‘Emily McKenzie’ is one of the taller types of plant, that will flower throughout the summer and into autumn.
Main Features of Crocosmia
- Plant size – Crocosmia is a decent sized plant, growing to around 1.5m in height, with up to 50cm spread. However, they are not the fastest-growing plants, with it taking them between 2-5 years to grow to their full height. But they are definitely worth the wait and will still provide beautiful flowers during this time!
- Hardiness – Crocosmia are relatively hardy plants that can cope in a variety of conditions (see more on this further in the article)
- When to Plant – Crocosmias should be planted Late Spring, up to May/June time to allow them to establish in the garden during the summer months. Be sure that any chance of frost has passed before planting if you want your Croosmias to grow successfully.
- When they Flower – Most Crocosomias will flower between June and August, just depending on how good the summer is that we are having! If it is a typical British summer (i.e. rubbish!) then you should expect your Crocosmia to flower towards the end of summer.
- Crocosmias are deciduous plants – meaning they will lose their leaves through the winter, but they make up for this with lovely, bright green foliage through the rest of the year.
- Crocosomias are perennial plants which means they will continue to grow year on year, after laying dormant over winter.
- Another benefit of growing Crocosmia plants is that they do not require any pruning, meaning that once they have been planted, they require little upkeep and maintenance.
Where to Plant Crocosmia
As mentioned above, Crocosmia are relatively hardy plants, but they do need some consideration when deciding where to plant as they are better suited to warmer climates, so to get the best from your plants in this country, they do need planting in the right place!
- Ideally, Crocosmia prefers well-drained, but still moist, soil. But they can cope in a variety of soil conditions, from chalky to sand or clay-filled.
- Crocosmia should be planted in full sun, if possible, to give them the best chance of warmth and sunlight through those important summer months.
- Crocosmia benefits from a more sheltered site if you live in a colder, windier area. They can be slightly more exposed in warmer areas, however, will be unlikely to grow to the best of their ability in fully exposed areas of the garden.
- If planting more than one Crocosmia then we would recommend spacing them between 15-20cm apart – this will give them space to grow but also create a lovely effect in your garden. If you are only planning to plant one Crocosmia plant then it should be planted around 45-60cm away from other plants so that it can receive plenty of sunlight, nutrients and water.
How to Care for Crocosmia
Crocosmia plants do need more care than some other plants that will have homes in your garden – however, they are well worth this extra effort with the joy that they will give in your garden!
- Provide a good quality fertiliser for your Crocosmia during Spring months to support it in growing and flowering successfully.
- Water weekly during your Crocosmia’s growing season – however, make sure that the soil does not become too damp as this could inhibit the growth of your plant.
- To get the most from your Crocosmia plant, we would recommend removing dead flowers, as this will encourage new ones to grow.
- Keep the leaves on your plant for as long as possible, as this will help them obtain the sunlight and energy that they need to prepare for next year’s blooms! However, once the leaves have died, the plants should be cut back to just above ground level.
Frequently Asked Questions
In general, Crocosomia will be disease-free, so an easy to look after plant! They are however prone to glasshouse red spider mites, which feed on the sap of the plants, causing leaf loss and discoloured mottled leaves.
Yes! Although Crocosomias don’t particularly like very cold areas, they can still be grown here. You will just have to do a little bit more work before winter to enjoy the benefits of the plant during the summer. When the weather starts to get colder (usually if it drops below 2℃) then simply remove any excess soil, and store your plant inside in a relatively cool place).