The crocosmia, also called montbretia, is a lovely hardy perennial with sword-shaped green foliage and lots of funnel-shaped bright flowers.  Like many flowers, crocosmia corms originate from South Africa. They are part of the Iris family of plants “Iridaceae”.  The name comes from the Greek words for “smell” and “saffron”.

Although by far the most common and popular is the bright red “Lucifer” variety, but crocosmias come in multiple colours.  There is the beautiful yellow variety “George Davison” and the two-toned orange (somewhat shorter) variety “Emily McKenzie”.  Crocosmia plants grow to 60-90cm in length, with flowers appearing, depending on when planted, from late May onwards throughout the summer.  Whichever colour you go for, you are sure to get a great looking border!

Crocosmias also make for excellent cut flowers for indoor enjoyment.  Cutting doesn’t harm the corms so they will come back again the following season.  Cutting crocosmias for the vase can best be done when the lower blooms have just started to open, and the majority of the smaller, younger flowers are still in buds. Crocosmias also have a lovely subtle scent that increases when dried after flowering (small berries appear after flowering, which is also great for decorative use). 

Planting crocosmia corms is fairly simple and straightforward.  They can be planted from March until May, and really are a “plant and forget” variety because they grow almost anywhere (although crocosmias prefer a slightly acidic soil), as long as the soil is nutrient rich and well-drained, and not too dry.  The corms should be planted 5-8cm deep and around 10cm apart.  Bear in mind that crocosmias are master naturalisers and that they will self-multiply and form “clumps” over the years. 

Once montbretia bulbs are planted, they need very little in the way of ongoing care.  Most people leave them for years as they multiply and form clumps underground.  If after several seasons you decide that they have become too dense then you can lift the clumps and cut apart sections of the grouped corms in early spring.  You can then easily replant redundant clumps in other areas of your garden. 

Crocosmias rarely have problems with diseases or pests and as mentioned before, require very little ongoing care.  They truly are a lovely, brightly coloured addition to every garden, and attract lots of bees and butterflies as well. 

Should you wish to receive more information on crocosmias/montbretias then please do not hesitate to contact us at info@bulbsandbeyond.com