- Author: Andrea Peck
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Andrea Peck UCCE Master Gardener
Common Name: Montbretia
Latin Name: Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora
Size of Plant: This plant grows 2'-3' high and wide.
Bloom Description: Bright orange-red flowers clustering along the end of the stem in a feather-like manner.
Exposure: Full Sun, will tolerate a bit of shade.
Pruning Needs: When flowering ceases, the plant dies back and can be pruned to ground level.
Water Needs: Low water needs once established.
Description: Crocosmia is a vivid spark of a plant that will jolt you from your seasonal doldrums. Fierce sword-shaped leaves make their ascent from corms hibernating in the soil during the dark winter months---the orange-red inflorescences soon follow. You may find yourself gawking at the flame of color while the rest of your garden slumbers and the general atmosphere pouts. Just like any other beacon of life, this plant grows in almost any soil, even the worst rocky outcropping seems to provide enough for the crocosmia to survive. The strong leaves hold themselves upright without outside assistance. After the plant has finished blooming, the once-stoic leaves will dry out and capitulate. At this point, it is necessary to trim the plant down to the scrubby-textured corm. Depending on your gardening needs, it may be best to pull up the corms and save them to plant next fall---this plant is a vigorous grower and will spread underground if left to its own devices. For some this is a benefit for others a bane.
Planting in a pot is another way to grow this plant and it's a nice surprise when you see ''something coming up'' in a forgotten spot. Perhaps most in its favor is the fact that hummingbirds are very attracted to the colorful tubular flowers. Other bird species are similarly interested in crocosmia, even as just a resting or observational spot. This plant requires very little water as it grows, blooms and spreads its cheer during the rainy season.