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More Information about Crocosmia
Crocosmia is a wonderful genus of 11 species of easy-to-grow, summer flowering bulbs from Southern Africa. These iris relatives produce blazing flower stalks in summer from fast-multiplying underground corms (bulb-like structures). Crocosmia species were first hybridized in the 1870's at the Lemoine nursery in France, and over 400 cultivars have been introduced. However many of the fine old cultivars have sadly been lost to history.
One of the few fast-multiplying forms that still dominates the market, the searingly red-flowered Crocosmia 'Lucifer' (released in 1966 by Blooms of Bressingham Nursery), actually crowds itself out so quickly that it rarely flowers after the first year in warm climate gardens. 'Lucifer' is a botanical sinner in that sense! We have chosen a combination of slower spreading, old and new crocosmia selections that have proven to be exceptional performers and less "Lucifer-ous" in our sun perennial trials.
Crocosmia flowers are perfect for those who "like it hot". They are deeply saturated with red, orange, and yellow hues. Crocosmia corms start their flower show in midsummer (July in NC) and continue for around two months during the peak of hummingbird season. Crocosmia flowers also attract butterflies and more importantly hoverflies...imporant predators of aphids and other garden pests.
Crocosmia are great front-of-the-border plants...mass the bulbs together for best effect. Crocosmia flowers are excellent for cutting too. Like many garden plants, crocosmia prefers well-drained, amended soil. Crocosmia corms should be divided every few years in the spring, separated and replanted at least 1' apart. Some cultivars, like 'Lucifer' will spread quickly to form a devilishly wide mass that can engulf nearby smaller plants, so plan accordingly.
The common name Montbretia commemorates Antoine Francois Ernest Conquebert de Monbret, a botanist who accompanied Napoleon on his Egyptian campaign from 1798-1801. The genus name Crocosmia is derived from the Greek "krokos" for saffron and "osme" for smell as the dried leaves smell like saffron when crushed. Most modern cultivars of Crocosmia are a hybrid of multiple wild Crocosmia species and are known as Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora. When you are ready to buy crocosmia corms for your garden, check out our list of crocosmia for sale.