Crocosmia Plant Care and Growing Guide

Table of Contents

Crocosmia, also known as montbretia, is a striking plant famous for its vibrant, funnel-shaped flowers that resemble small flames shooting up from the foliage.

Originating from South Africa, it’s not just a visual delight but also a favorite among hummingbirds, who are attracted to its nectar-rich blooms.

Gardeners often admire Crocosmia’s ability to add color to borders, beds, and even wildflower meadows.

Key Takeaways:

  • Soil: Crocosmia thrives in well-drained soil, amend heavy clay with peat moss and sand for better drainage.
  • Light Needs: Prefers full sun for abundant blooming; partial shade tolerated in hot climates but may reduce flowering.
  • Watering: Keep soil moist but not soggy; water when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.
  • Fertilizing: Minimal feeding required as Crocosmia grows well in lean-to-rocky soil; avoid excessive nutrients to prevent foliage overgrowth.
  • Humidity and Temperature: Thrives in heat but prefers drier climates; may tolerate humidity but performs best in arid conditions.
  • Pruning: Deadhead spent flowers throughout the season; allow foliage to naturally die back in late summer to divert energy towards corms for next year’s blooms.
  • Propagating: Divide congested clumps or separate corms in spring for propagation; collect and plant seeds in sandy loam soil for new growth.
  • Overwintering: Mulch heavily in regions with mild winters; in colder climates, dig up corms and store in a cool, dry place until spring.
  • Crocosmia Cultivars: Varieties like Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora, Lucifer, and Bressingham Beacon offer diverse flower displays for gardeners.
  • Pest Management: Ensure well-drained soil to prevent rotting; watch for spider mites in dry conditions and use neem oil or introduce predators for control.

More About Crocosmia Plant

flowering Crocosmia plant

Crocosmia, or Coppertips or Montbretia, are flowering plants belonging to the Iris family.

They produce vibrant red, orange, and yellow blooms on long arching stems throughout the growing season.

Originating from South Africa, they add beauty to garden beds, borders, and container arrangements with attractive foliage that lasts all season.

Crocosmia Plant Care

Soil

potting soil

One thing you need not do with your Crocosmia is pamper it with well-drained soil. The important thing is to provide well-drained soil. So, if you have heavy clay soil, you can amend it with peat moss and sand to give it a loose consistency.

An alternative is to grow Crocosmia in containers with drainage holes or raised flower beds. You can also add humus-rich soil to organic mulch for added growth.

Light Needs

flowering crocosmia plant under full sun

Crocosmia plants thrive in full sun to produce those gorgeous blooms. You can grow them in partial shade, but they will not flower much. In hot climates, some afternoons, partial shade is welcome.

If you plant Crocosmias in light shade and find them reaching toward the sun, we recommend digging up the corms once the foliage starts to fade and placing them in a sunny spot.

Watering Your Crocosmia

One thing your crocosmia needs is water but not soggy soil. You can water them when you feel the top inch of the soil is dry. The rule is to keep the soil moist but not completely dry

Fertilizing

Your outdoor plants will grow in lean-to-rocky soil and do not need additional feeding. The reason is that too many nutrients result in the foliage overgrowing and does not result in blooms.

Humidity and Temperature

Crocosmia plant

While Crocosmia can thrive in the heat with humidity, it prefers drier climates. You may live in places like the Pacific Northwest; the plants can take over flowerbeds

Pruning

When the flower production of the crocosmia is over and the blooms are spent, please do not remove it until it naturally dies back in late summer after the growing season. The reason is that the green sword-shaped foliage still produces photosynthesis diverting the energy towards the corms to produce blooms the following year.

Still, you can remove the dead flower heads throughout the flowering season. You can cut them back where the leaves and stems meet.

Propagating Crocosmia

Propagation occurs through division, ideally done every 3 to 4 years in early spring to prevent overcrowding and promote flower production.

Some varieties may become invasive over time, but there are less invasive options available. In optimal hardiness zones, bulbs can remain in the ground for the following year, while in cooler zones, they should be dug up, cleaned, and stored in a cool, dry place until planting in spring after the last frost.

Ensuring warm soil and temperatures before planting will facilitate quicker sprouting of the bulbs.

How to Get Crocosmia to Bloom

The critical thing to remember with new plants indoors is that they might not bloom in the first year. But if your Crocosmia has no flower production in the second season, it can result from different things.

The first can be too much fertilizer, leading to overgrowth and few blooms. Secondly, your plant might stand a low light and need full sun to produce those beautiful blooms. While your plant is in well-drained soil, you still need to keep the soil moist during droughts.

Overwintering

Crocosmia can overwinter successfully in regions where the ground doesn’t freeze deeply.

In colder climates, where frost penetrates the soil deeply, it’s recommended to mulch the area around Crocosmia plants heavily before winter sets in.

This mulch layer helps insulate the soil, protecting the corms from freezing temperatures. Additionally, in areas with harsh winters, some gardeners choose to dig up the corms in fall, store them in a cool, dry place, and replant them in spring once the danger of frost has passed.

Crocosmia Cultivars

You can find different varieties to add to your garden in the Crocosmia genus.

Here are our favorites:

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora provides most gardens with a dramatic reddish-orange flower display that is eye-catching. The flowers form along the branches at the top of the stem in two rows, which is perfect for flower arrangements for any occasion.

Crocosmia Lucifer

Crocosmia Lucifer

The Lucifer are spring bloomers with blood-red flowers and is a popular variety.

Crocosmia Bressinghamm Beacon

Crocosmia Bressinghamm Beacon

It is a bi-color Crocosmia with yellow flowers that also provide a great display in your garden

Crocosmia Diseases and Pests

Planting Crocosmia is mostly disease free, but you can have problems when not providing them with enough drained soil. Other concerns are spider mites when growing in dry conditions during summer.

The best way to treat these critters is to bring in predators or use neem oil to prevent spider mite infestations. To prevent rotting of the root when growing Crocosmia, it helps to water when the soil feels dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best solution when your Crocosmia is planted and overgrown is to thin them out. You can select your plant, break fair-sized clumps apart, and remove damaged corms.

It helps to deadhead the flowers as it helps encourage new blooms and prune the leaves at the end of the growing season to help manage the plants’ size.

When your plant completes the blooming cycle, it helps to leave the foliage, allowing it to put back energy into the corms to bloom again. Once the foliage withers and dies, you can cut back your plant to ground level.

To keep Crocosmia blooming, ensure they receive full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Deadhead spent flowers regularly throughout the growing season to encourage continuous blooming. Additionally, divide congested clumps every few years to maintain vigor and flower production.

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