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Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ (photo courtesy of Norman A. Plate)
Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ (photo courtesy of Norman A. Plate)

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Zone
Zones 5-24, 28-39, H1, H2
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora

Montbretia
Iridaceae
Bulbs and bulblike plants, Perennials, Flowers

CROCOSMIA

Native to tropical and southern Africa. Formerly called tritonia, these perennials are related to freesia, ixia, and sparaxis. Sword-shaped leaves emerge from basal clumps. Small orange, red, or yellow flowers bloom in summer (spring in the hottest areas) on branched stems.

Useful for splashes of garden color and for cutting. Plant in well-drained, enriched soil; set corms 2 in. deep, 3 in. apart. Where winter temperatures remain above 10°F/–12°C, needs no winter protection. Where lows range from 10° to –5°F/12° to –21°C, provide winter mulch. In colder areas, dig and store over winter. Divide clumps only when vigor and flower quality begin to decline.

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora

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Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora

A favorite for generations, montbretias can still be seen in older gardens where they have spread freely, as though native to those sites, producing orange-crimson flowers 1 1/2–2 in. across on 3–4-ft. stems. Sword-shaped leaves grow to 3 ft. tall, 1/2–1 in.wide.

Many once-common named forms in yellow, orange, cream, and near-scarlet are making a comeback. Good for naturalizing on slopes or in fringe areas. Montbretia has established itself in wild lands throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

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