This highly architectural perennial has arching bracts of trumpet-shaped flowers, borne on tall stems that float above a sea of sword shaped leaves. Very easy to grow and spreads well in the garden.
Family: Iridaceae (iris)
Botanical Name: Crocosmia (syn. montbretia)
Common Names: montbretia
Foliage: Clumps of narrow, erect, mid-green, ribbed sword-shaped leaves. Deciduous (dies back after flowering).
Flowers: Arching sprays of showy funnel-shaped flowers, borne on firm tall stems. Bright shades of yellow, orange or red.
Flowering Period: Summer to early autumn.
Soil: Moist but well-drained fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.
Conditions: Best in full sun. Plant in a south, east or west facing aspect, in a sheltered location. Will tollerate some shade for part of the day.
Habit: Clump-forming, tufted.
Type: Cormous perennial.
Hardiness: Most forms are fully hardy in the UK (down to -15°C).
Easy to grow. Great in exotic displays or in the middle or at the front of borders. Look their best when grown en-masse or amongst other herbaceous perennials.
Plant in spring or in autumn after flowering is over. Set the corms about 4in (10cm) deep. Pot grown specimens can be planted at any reasonable time.
Crocosmia do well in any moderately fertile, humus-rich soil, that is moist but well-drained. Choose a site sunny that is sheltered from cold winds.
All varieties are excellent for cut flowers.
Water well in summer.
No pruning required.
Generally pest and disease free. Occasionally corms can be attacked by gladiolus dry rot.
Divide mature clumps in early spring, just as growth commences. For details see Propagating Bulbs, Corms and Tubers.
Some forms can be invasive in warmer areas of Britain, where it spreads naturally along hedge rows and roadside verges.
C. 'Bressingham Beacon' has orange buds opening to a mix of yellow and orange flowers. Height to 3ft (90cm).
C. x crocosmiiflora is a vigorous perennial with arching spikes of orange-red flowers. Height to 2ft (60cm). This is the common garden montbretia that also naturalises along roadside verges in rural areas. It can be invasive, so plant it in an area where can be controlled easily.
C. x c. 'Emily Mckenzie' has nodding red and deep orange flowers. Height to 2ft (60cm). Non-invasive form.
C. x c. 'Solfataire' produces apricot yellow flowers in mid to late summer. The leaves are bronze-tinted. Height to 2ft (60cm). Not fully hardy in the UK.
C. 'Citronella' has soft lemon-yellow flowers. Height to 2ft (60cm).
C. 'George Davison' is a tough hardy variety with starry, golden blooms. Height to 35in (90cm), spread: 4in (10cm). Available from Thompson and Morgan.
C. 'Jackanapes' has dark red and yellow flowers.
C. 'Lucifer' is a popular garden form with brilliant scarlet flowers from early summer. Height to 4ft (120cm). Available from Thompson and Morgan.
C. masonorum (giant montbretia) is a large form with upward facing bright orange-red flowers (2in (5cm) in length) from midsummer. The leaves of this form are distinctively pleated. Height to 4ft (1.2m).
C. 'Vulean' has rich burnt orange flowers.
C. 'Firebird' has brilliant flame orange flowers.