Crocosmia, Montbretia

Crocosmia, Montbretia
Crocosmia
Hummingbird- among and Crocosmia.jpg
Crocosmia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Ixioideae
Tribe: Ixieae
Genus: Crocosmia
Type species
Crocosmia aurea
Synonyms
  • Crocanthus
  • Curtonus

Crocosmia  (montbretia)is a small genus of flowering plants in the iris family, Iridaceae. It is native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa, ranging from South Africa to Sudan. One species is endemic to Madagascar.

They can be evergreen or deciduous perennials that grow from basal underground corms. The corms are unusual in forming vertical chains with the youngest at the top and oldest and largest buried most deeply in the soil. The roots of the lowermost corm in a chain are contractile roots and drag the corm deeper into the ground where conditions allow. The chains of corms are fragile and easily separated, a quality that has enabled some species to become invasive and difficult to control in the garden.

They have colourful inflorescences of 4 to 20 vivid red and orange subopposite flowers on a divaricately (horizontally) branched stem.  They flower from early summer well into fall.  The fertile flowers are hermaphroditic. They are pollinated by insects, birds (hummingbirds) or by the wind.

They are commonly known in the United States as coppertips or falling stars, and in the United Kingdom as montbretia. Other names, for hybrids and cultivars, include antholyza, and curtonus. The genus name is derived from the Greek words krokos, meaning “saffron”, and osme, meaning “odor” – from the dried leaves emitting a strong smell like that of saffron when immersed in hot water.


Date Planted

May 29, 2018 40 Crocosmia Monbretia


Purchase Info

2018 Belgium, Brand Florex bought on sale (1 euro a packet) from brico.  40 Crocosmia Monbretia Select Mix


Progress

June 2019


Flowered


Duration


Diseases and Problems


Cultivation  

Crocosmia are winter-hardy in temperate regions. They require moist, well drained soil in a sunny or semi shaded location.  Plant March through May. Plant 8 cm deep, 10 cm apart. Plant grows to 60 cm hight.

Container Growing

  • Can  plant out in containers, but  they may soon become pot-bound and overcrowded.

Fertilizers

  •  Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers as these tend to encourage too much leafy growth at the expense of flowering stems.

Proportion

  • Can be propagated through division, removing offsets from the corm in spring.
  • Clumps may be lifted and divided every three or four years. Replant sections at the same depth in rich, moisture retentive but well-drained soil.
  • Remove the flowering stems when the last flowers have died back, and cut the plants down to 50mm (2”) high. Collect seeds for propagation at the same time.Sow at once in pots placed in a cool greenhouse or frame.Seeds should germinate in early spring.They should flower one or two years later, but not necessarily true to the parent plant.

Winter Care

  • In cold areas or known frost pockets, lift the corms, removing the soil and leaves when the latter are quite brown.
  • Store lifted corms in peat or old (disease free) compost in a frost free place, to prevent them shrivelling up and dying.
  • Alternative 1: Leave leaves on till spring to protect the corms.
  • Alternative 2: Cut them down to ground level, and apply a mulch of well rotted manure or compost.
corms in winter

Uses

Crocosmia attracts butterflies and humming birds. The flowers, make good cut flowers, and appear from mid July till September.