Crocosmia originates from South Africa and is known for its bold and bright colorful flowers. The beautiful small orange, red, and yellow flowers are nectar-rich making them a favorite of hummingbirds. This perennial plant is also known as montbretia will bring its sizzling color to your garden year after year. The blue-green foliage on Crocosmia plants is thin and sword-shaped, similar to a gladiolus. It can offer height to your garden beds and containers. The height varies from 24 to 48 inches, depending on the variety.
The most popular way to grow crocosmias is from corms which are planted in the early spring. They can also be grown from young plants. It is best to plant them in groups, three is a good number. Blooms will start appearing in the summer and the plant will bloom all summer long.
Crocosmia plants are easy to take care of and grow. Plant them in moist well-drained soil in full sun. The plant can tolerate light shade. If they get too much shade, they will start to flop. The corms are planted 3 to 5 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart. Try planting a dozen or more of the same variety in a trench for a wonderful show of color. Water them well after planting. With their height, you might have to stake these plants.
If you want to grow these plants in containers, select a shorter variety. This is important if you are planting them with other plants as the shorter varieties tend not to take over the container. You can plant them in the container on their own to control their potency. Make sure your container has a drainage hole and add fertilizer regularly to keep them looking great.
Water them regularly especially during periods of drought. If you grow them in containers, once they flower, they need to be watered regularly. If you grow them in the ground, they will not have to be fertilized regularly. Be aware that some gardeners complain the plant has invasive tendencies. This is mostly true in climates that have cool summers and mild winters, similar to the plant's native growing conditions in South Africa. If you live in a climate like this, consider growing crocosmia in a container.
To clean them up, let the leaves turn totally brown. Once this has occurred you can gently pull the foliage and it will come away from the corm. This is better than leaving stubs in the ground. Faded flowers at the base of the stem can be cut but leave some seedheads as it offers interest and wildlife shelter in the winter. In the early spring, cut the plant to the ground before new foliage starts to appear.
Crocosmia is known for its ability to multiply so the corms and the clumps get crowded, which causes reduce flowering and energy for the plant. The plants can be divided in the early spring before new growth appears every 3 to 4 years. Watering the plant, the day before will make the plant easier to divide and will ease the shock of transplanting the divisions. Separate the corms and replant the top-most corms, which will produce the strongest plants for the season.