Winter Plant Portrait-Croscosmias


Welcome to a Winter Plant Portrait. During the cold and less than colorful months, carefully filed photos from the previous year have been selected to brighten, inform and perhaps entertain. This post is featuring the family of Crocosmias growing here at the Fairegarden. The methodology seems to be buy one of something, plant it and see how it performs, then add more until the obsession subsides and the next cool plant attracts our attention. So it was with the Crocs. They live together in harmony in the black garden, offering brilliant color to the darker hued leaves and flowers there.


Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ was the trailblazer in this case.


Purchased at a garden club plant sale in Knoxville a couple of years ago, we researched its needs and tried to oblige. It was written that frequent dividing will produce more blooms. Ours has been divided every year, but not yet for the coming season, add that to the to do list. This is the tallest of the Crocosmias we grow, flowering in mid summer.


This one is a passalong from my mountain man friend, Christopher of Outside Clyde. The Faire Bulbarella from whose garden this was shared calls it Montbretia, which is the older common name for the genus. It is shorter in stature than Lucifer and a bright pumpkin color.


Now is when we run into trouble with the identification. An order was placed with Plant Delights Nursery after the inital success with Lucifer. C. Little Redhead, Bright Eyes and Star Of The East, (Walcroy yellow was then and still is sold out) came and were duly planted with the tags stuck in the ground right next to each. We believe the image above is Star Of The East. (Lilium ‘Black Beauty’ is blooming in the background.) The tagged plants of the Star and Little Redhead look exactly the same, like this, however.


C. ‘Bright Eyes’ is a prolific bloomer.


This was believed to be C. Emberglow, purchased from the big box store. Research online shows a different coloration for Emberglow. We are confused even more now. Where is Little Redhead?


This one is our only pure yellow, C. ‘Solfaterre’, purchased on a visit to Nashville.


C. ‘George Davison’ purchased at Mouse Creek Nursery, pretending to be a Perilla. Added: this is not a photo of Georgie Boy, thanks to the astute eyes of James Alexander-Sinclair. But is the photo wrong, or is the plant tag wrong, I won’t know until next blooming season. After seeing his photo, link in his comment below, I hope we do have George growing here. If not, he will need to be added to the collection.


Seeds were saved and sown from Lucifer in 2008 with zero success. These are on a plant whose tag reads Little Redhead. At least the seed pods are red. Sort of.


These seeds are larger than the ones collected from Lucifer and have been left to ripen fully, and be frozen a few times for good measure. If and when the pods open to expose the seeds, they will be planted in the area with fingers crossed. Added: Pods were picked, pried open and there was nothing inside. We came up empty. No seeds. No nothing. Division will be the way to propagate the crocs.

Here are some plant facts about Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ from Mobot-Missouri Botanical Garden:

Common Name: montbretia
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Bulb
Family: Iridaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: None
Height: 2 to 4 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: June – August
Bloom Color: Scarlet red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium

General Culture:

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist soils in full sun. Plant corms in spring 2-3″ deep and 6-8″ apart. Only reliably winter hardy to areas where winter temperatures do not dip below 0 F. In USDA Zone 5 (and possibly Zone 6), it is strongly recommended that the corms be dug up in fall and stored over winter in somewhat the same manner as for gladiolus (but do not allow them to dry out completely). Propagate by division or by corm offsets. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

This montbretia cultivar is an Alan Bloom hybrid (Crocosmia x Curtonus) which has flowers and foliage that are similar to gladiolus. A clump-forming plant that features tubular, nodding, scarlet red, one-sided flowers borne along the upper portions of stiffly arching, sometimes branched, flower scapes (stems) typically rising up to 3′ (infrequently to 4′) tall and slightly above the narrow, sword-shaped, basal leaves. A good fresh cut flower which is frequently used in commercial floral arrangements.

Problems:

Spider mites can cause significant damage to the foliage, and, if left unchecked, impair normal flowering.

Uses:

Best when planted in clumps of 12 or more. Provides color and contrast to the perennial border. May be grown in containers where lifting in winter is perhaps easier.

If you live in a zone where this is hardy, zone 6 to 9, I highly recommend any member of the Crocosmia family be added to your garden. As for digging the corms for those in zone 5-6, it might be worth the effort. If you get the name tags mixed up, it doesn’t make the flowers any less beautiful.

Frances

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47 Responses to Winter Plant Portrait-Croscosmias

  1. gittan says:

    I had no idea that there were so many sorts of Croscosmias! I wonder why the pods haven’t opened yet? Mine always does by the end of summer and I tryed for the first time last spring to saw some seeds. I was amazes that almost every seed sprouted. Now I have about 30 small plants waiting under the roof (in the not-yeat-built storeroom. I hope your seeds grows directly in the bed instead / kram gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks so much I will go check today on the status of those seed pods. It has been too cold for any garden perusal lately and I haven’t looked recently. Good to know you had a good success rate with them. Goodie! πŸ™‚
    Kram,
    Frances

  2. Joanne says:

    Morning Frances well it is here in UK. I enjoyed your cheerful summery post on crocosmia I love them as a plant but they struggle so in our very dry summers. In Cornwall they grow wild in the hedgerows a wonderful sight.
    We are really striggling with snow here in UK worst for 30 years so a cheerful summery post was just the ticket. Good luck with your seed propagation.

    Hi Joanne, thanks. I was worried about the crocs not getting enough water here since the first year for Lucifer was a horrible drought year, but he bloomed well with no extra water. I do believe he is the toughest of the lot. Your harsh winter has been on the news here, I do hope the gardens survive, and the gardeners! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  3. Autumn Belle says:

    Good Morning, Frances. It is almost 6pm here. I like this flower and its colour. It will definitely brighten up any garden. I agree with (and also practise the same) your methodology of buying plants. I never buy from mail order yet because I’m afraid that I’ll be disappointed with the outcome later. But I do buy from the seeds in packets at the hypermarkets. I also like to buy seedlings direct from my fave nursery where I get to choose, touch and see how the real plant and blooms look like, i.e. healthy or not. In Malaysia, the nurseries does not label the plants. If you ask, they’ll tell you the common/nick names, sometimes even wrong names.

    Ah, I just found out that we are exactly 12 hours different. 5:49am for you means 5:49pm for me. So I’ll be sleeping when you are having your lunch and vice versa!

    Hi Autumn Belle, good to know that time difference. I like imagining the time of day for the garden bloggers elsewhere. Labeling is always a problem here, even at my favorite nurseries. That is why I always research a new plant online at several sites, to be more sure of what we have just purchased. I love your plan for the year posting! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  4. Darla says:

    I only have Lucifer and he needs some attention..Do you cut yours back? Ms. Doris three doors down, gave me mine, she has tons of Lucifer and she cuts hers back every year..? I should check into more crocs. Thanks.

    Hi Darla, if you only have one, Lucifer should be that one. I do cut it back, along with everything else in late winter. I will divide the corms then too. What I read was that the corms can get overcrowded and choke themselves out, with less blooming and vigor a result. That is the reason this one is so often shared, we end up with extras that need good homes. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have tried these guys in the garden several times with failure. However I was given a few croms (bulbs?) this summer and so I stuck them in. We will see if they grow. I love Lucifer which is the variety that was given to me. If he settles in I would love to try the varieties you have mentioned here.

    Hi Lisa, I hope your Lucifer lives, for he is a fine garden denizen. He seems the toughest of the lot I have. Emberglow was planted in bloom, bought from the big box store as a large specimen. He then disappeared. I found a small piece of his corm and moved it. Maybe that was the wrong way and time to plant. Lucifer was a tiny thing and did not bloom the first year. I divided it anyway and was rewarded with many blooms on several plants the next year. I think overcrowding is an issue. Good luck with yours! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  6. Liisa says:

    Frances,
    Crocosmia is one of my favorites. Love your beautiful shades of orange. Started my obsession with ‘Solfaterre’ and was unsuccessful. I planted ‘Lucifer’ last spring, which can survive our winters with some careful siting. I hope to see flowers this summer. If all goes well, ‘Distant Planet’ will be added which is a delicious shade of orange. I was told that they often do not produce blooms the first year they are planted, have you found this to be true for you? Beautiful blooms and photos, Frances.

    Hi Liisa, thanks. The trick to growing these is unknown to me, but Lucifer seems the toughest. It did not bloom the first year, as you were told, but has done the best of those we grow. Solfaterre and all the others bloomed much later than Lucifer too. I think they all appreciate watering, but don’t get that here. The first blooming year for Lucifer was an extreme drought condition, the worst on record, but he still bloomed. Last year the rainfall was good and the blooming was better, but Emberglow and Little Redhead seem to have disappeared and/or dwindled. Maybe they all need frequent dividing, as Lucifer does.
    Frances

  7. Gela says:

    Lovely flovers. Wonderful colors. Have a nice day/Gela

    Hi Gela, thanks and welcome. I enjoyed seeing your garden in snow and in summer. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  8. Les says:

    In most year this plant approaches near weed status in my garden, coming up everywhere. I don’t complain as I like them alot, they make great cut flowers and they are easy to yank or give away. This summer they were incredibly scarce and not one bloomed. We will see what happens this year. They have emotional significance for us as I gave my wife a huge bundle of them from the florist ages ago after a failed pregnancy. I did not know what they were then and just thought they were cheery. All things for a purpose.

    Hi Les, glad to hear these will spread like that. I do believe that is more likely to happen in wetter soil than mine, but they will grow here. Maybe you need to divide yours? I read that was the reason they sometimes decline. I am so sorry about the failed pregnancy, having had the same experience many years ago. One never forgets that experience.
    Frances

  9. I love these flowers Frances. I have used them for years in flower arrangements and their presence makes any bouquet more exquisite. In the garden too … they are so striking … as your beautiful photographs from your garden show. Thanks for all the information. Hope it is warming up for you down there! Carol

    Hi Carol, thanks. I don’t really do cut flowers here, since my cat Hazel eats anything and everything that was once alive, but imagine they would make wonderful bouquets. It is supposed to warm up now, thank goodness. There is work to be done out there! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. Rose says:

    Thanks for providing this bright spot of color on an otherwise gray and white day here, Frances. Such vibrant colors! I’ve never planted any crocosmias before, but I’ll have to think about them. The digging up in the fall is the only part that puts me off–I did well to dig up my few caladiums last fall, and I’m not sure even they will survive. Maybe I’ll just enjoy yours vicariously.

    Hi Rose, thanks for visiting this summer remembrance post. I don’t blame you for the digging avoidance, it is too much trouble. We used to dig caladiums too, but it wasn’t worth it either. I am so lazy. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  11. Willow says:

    Thanks so much for showing those beautiful and colorful pics. It is so cold here, it is nice to be reminded that Spring is just around the corner.

    Thanks Willow. It is supposed to warm up to more normal temps here, above freezing during the daytime anyway. Very welcome.
    Frances

  12. Gail says:

    They are beauties Frances…I really like the last photo with the frosted seed heads! I haven’t had luck leaving them in the ground or keeping the bulb alive over the winter. Could it be the wet winters we usually have? But, this year I am going to be on the look out for them at my favorite nurseries….hummers and bees seem to enjoy them~~gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. I need to go check to see if anything has changed with those seed heads. Maybe I need to bring them inside, or a couple just to experiment. They are supposed to like wet, I was worried during the drought year before last, but Lucifer was fine. We saw them growing near Charleston in drainage ditches along the side of the road, like weeds!
    Frances

  13. Very nice! I’ll keep an eye out for some crocs. Good luck with the seeds!

    Thanks Dave. These are good plants and have a lot to offer. Look for Lucifer, it is the easiest to grow, I think. πŸ™‚

    Frances

  14. commonweeder says:

    These are beautiful plants, but in my climate I would have to dig them up and store over the winter. I’m saving my dahlias because I am planning to do more with cut flowers for the church, but the idea of more digging and storing is just Too Much. I do enjoy all the miracles in your garden though.

    Hi pat, thanks. The digging is offputting, I don’t blame you. Dahlias are another story, although we are hoping to winter ours over, but so far this winter might be too much for them. Glad to see you will be in Buffalo, looking forward to meeting you! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  15. Nell Jean says:

    The reason for dividing is not only to separate the many divisions and new bulbs on the prolific stolons, but to set the bulbs deeper. Each season, a new bulb forms atop the old bulb and they literally lift themselves out of the ground!

    Crocosmia attracts butterflies and hummingbirds in my garden. The species could be considered a nuisance in gardens where spreading itself about is not a plus as it is in my garden.

    Ah, Nell Jean, thanks so much for that clarification! I do hope to get some spreading here, if it filled that area in the black garden we would jump for joy. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  16. Janet says:

    Morning Frances, interesting post. I am a fan of Lucifer…love the bold red. At Les’ garden center they had a combination planting of Crocosmia and a Canna (maybe Bengal Tiger?) Really nice colors together. In my garden they were Vole food…bummer.

    Hi Janet, thanks. The mix with the cannas sounds great. Dadburn voles! They are a problem here as well, but mainly right behind the block walls where they have millions of tunnels. My solution at present is to plant poisonous plants along the walls, daffodils and foxgloves so far. They have also not bothered the astilbes or Japanese painted ferns or blood grass. I will keep an eye out for those critters in the black garden, not that there is much that can be done about them though.
    Frances

  17. andrΓ© says:

    It looks like your garden is on fire! Lovely colors..! πŸ™‚

    Hi Andre, thanks. The black garden is supposed to showcase bright colors with the dark foliage. The crocosmias are perfect with those brilliant flowers. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  18. Jen says:

    Oh yay! I’m in zone 6, so am definitely putting this on my list. These are some of my favorite colors, too. Thanks for warming up a cold day.

    Good deal, Jen! These are wonderful colorful additions to any garden. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  19. lotusleaf says:

    Beautiful crocs! I planted some bulbs given to me by a friend, and although the plants are healthy, there is not a single flower in two years!

    Hi Lotusleaf, thanks. It seems that they need to be divided and replanted to keep them going. Read Nell Jean’s informative comment below. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  20. Catherine says:

    Thanks for a very interesting post. I really don’t know a lot about these plants, Darla sent me some from her garden and they are growing in the garage for now. I didn’t realize how many varieties there were, hope you can find your Little Redhead.

    Hi Catherine, thanks. Darla is a dear generous lady to send you those. I do hope they grow well for you. Nell Jean left a comment saying they need frequent division because they grow new corms on top of the old, too close to the surface. Maybe Little Redhead will show up this year. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  21. Phillip says:

    I love croscosmias, one of my favorite plants.

    Thanks Phillip, they are great garden residents! πŸ˜‰
    Frances

  22. Hello Frances,

    The crocosmias are so beautiful. I totally understand finding a new plant to try and then planting it wherever you find space. But, then there is always another new plant to try on the horizon…

    Hi Noelle, thanks. It seems you understand our methods perfectly! The world is full of new plants we need to try, and blogs certainly help us discover that fact. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  23. Kira Durbin says:

    Hello, Could the owner of this beautiful blog please email me? I apologize for posting here but I didn’t see a contact page. thank you

  24. James A-S says:

    Fantastic pictures, lovely Crocosmias except…..
    I don’t think your George Davidson is the same as our George Davidson. Ours is a really soft yellow while yours seems a bit orangey. http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackpitts/3877719192/

    Ah, thanks James. Either the plant was wrongly labeled, or that photo is wrongly captioned. I won’t know which is which until bloom time next summer. I love the look of yours, such a mass of flowers with the grass is wonderful. I will edit the posting. Maybe it is Little Redhead? πŸ™‚ Added: I see now it is actually George Davison, not Davidson, but so far it is not in my garden. Must remedy that!
    Frances

  25. Sweet Bay says:

    It is so nice to see summer flowers this time of year. It warms one right up!

    I haven’t tried Crocosmias yet — I love orange but have a hard time incorporating it into the garden. I love those yellow ones.

    Thanks Sweet Bay, it is for me too. Good thing I had loaded a couple of posts of summer pictures earlier. My husband switched me over to windows 7 yesterday and all the photos were erased. I had backed them up on jump drives, but there are thousands of shots and not in the order or folders that I had them in before. There go the rest of the plant portraits, unless I can find the rest. As for orange, it looks great mixed up with other hot colors, reds and purples, ala Christopher Lloyd. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  26. Kat says:

    Those warm orange and red colors really do the soul good this time of year. Thanks for sharing such lovely photos.

    Hi Kat, thanks. It is cheering to see bright colors now for me as well. And to think of the blooms to come! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  27. Elephant's Eye says:

    1,700 species, and half of them in South Africa. Got a long way to go Frances! LOL

    Hi Diana, I knew these were from South Africa, but did not know there were that many species. Let’s see, if this gets moved here and that can go over there…. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  28. Town Mouse says:

    Very beautiful, though it should be noted that some cultivars escape into the wild and become invasive. It depends much on where you live, though, some research is necessary. Note that contrary to what one might hope, nurseries sell lots of species that are invasive.

    In the right spot, though, it’s surely an amazing plant. Love those colors!

    Hi Town Mouse, thanks for that info. We can barely keep them going, it may be too dry for them to become a pest here. Same with the blood grass that is on some lists. We know nurseries have no problem selling invasives, nandina with berries is available, and purchased all the time. Every house in our neighborhood has them, along with Japanese privet, bush honeysuckle, bittersweet, the list goes on and on. Sadly.
    Frances

  29. Now THOSE are some flowery fireworks, Frances. They brightened my day right up, and I’m sure I feel a little bit warmer, too. Crocosmia are not good in my garden, as we have not quite enough heat to please them, but others in warmer parts of the province do beautifully with them.

    Thanks Jodi, they do look mighty bright about now with the drab outside. I’m glad to hear they grow up there, do you know if they have to dig them?
    Frances

  30. A note on MOBOT’s recommendations about zones, cold and digging. Here on this mountain we can reliably be expected to dip below 0 degrees most every winter. The Crocosmia are never dug for the winter and neither are the gladiola that were not supposed to be bulb hardy in this zone. Both come back faithfully and multiply like crazy.

    Insulating snow cover is not a given and this winter is rather freakish for the snow pack that is building up. The one thing that is certain is that the soil is exceedingly well draining. That may be what keeps them alive one zone colder (5b) than suggested without digging them up for the winter.

    Thanks Christopher. I don’t have enough experience with the Crocosmias to recommend them for colder climates. This is the first we have ever grown them. Your drainage and situation allow for many things to grow that probably shouldn’t, if going by temperature alone. I am so glad, too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  31. Nancy Andreasen says:

    I like these a lot, but, sad to say, in my garden at least rabbits like them as least as well as I do!

    Hi Nancy, thanks. I am so sorry about the rabbits. Ours prefer home grown strawberries.
    Frances

  32. Hi Frances, Crocosmias are something I admire in the catalogs (and on blogs such as yours – and YOUR Crocosmias are stunning!).

    Btw – You don’t want clear milk jugs for mini-greenhouses. The regular “milky white” ones do perfectly well! πŸ˜‰ Have a great night.

    Thanks Shady. My milk jugs are opaque yellow, but I will look for milky white!!! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  33. So beautiful crocosmias Frances!!! I have some in full bloom now… I just love them!!!!! IΒ΄ll try to divide them when the times come… but planting the seeds, mmmmm.
    CariΓ±os,
    Maria Cecilia

    Hi Maria, thanks. I am so glad you grow these wonderful plants as well. Yesterday I picked and opened the seed pods, they were empty, so division seems the best way to get more plants and keep the ones we have healthy and blooming. I need to add that to the post. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  34. gardeningasylum says:

    Wow – I had ruled out the Crocosmias, thinking the reds wouldn’t work with all the purples I have. But that orange might-be-George Davidson is amazing. Excellent tutorial on what is certainly an underused perennial in Connecticut.

    Hi Gardening Asylum, thanks and welcome. I love your red poles in winter! We like to mix all the colors, especially the hot tones together. Christopher Lloyd knew what he was talking about. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  35. dirtynailz says:

    I love those crocosmias – especially Lucifer, because it is such a hummingbird magnet. I am going through a phase where I like strong, clear colors in the garden. The birds and butterflies seem to agree.

    Hi Cynthia, thanks. Strong colors make the garden come alive, to humans as well as the hummers. Glad to hear you are in that phase. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  36. Hi Frances, You did a great job selecting the photos, indeed. It’s like a colorful shot right to the soul of a winter gardener. Yay! That C. β€˜Bright Eyes’ is stunning, I love the colors!

    Thanks Monica. These shots were put into the folder as they were taken, for a future post in the dead of winter. That time has come. The only downside is that with the new windows 7 the Financier loaded on my computer this weekend, all those folders for winter are now gone. I have the pictures on jump drives, but they are not in the folders anymore. There is one more post that had already been loaded, then it’s back to the drawing board. Nothing like a challenge, eh? πŸ˜‰
    Frances

  37. Randy says:

    Frances,
    what lovely colors to enjoy in the grey/brown scenes of winter. Thank you!

    Hi Randy, so nice to see you! Thanks for visiting. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  38. Kathleen says:

    I grow these in pots Frances ~ maybe I’m too lazy to dig up the corms? Even doing that, I lose them because the corms freeze when I forget to bring the pots in, etc. But I can’t imagine gardening without them either. You have so many ~ I usually limit myself to one a year. Great color popping post on a winters day.

    Hi Kathleen, thanks. We are lucky to be able to grow them without the digging, although some northern gardeners, and Christopher high in the mountains of North Carolina seem to be able to grow them in ground with good drainage. Do remember to bring in your pots, would be my suggestion. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  39. stevesned says:

    Crocosmia is anotyher plant I also use a lot of. Portland, in fact, has abundant Crocosmia’s all over town. I am a huge fan. What an outrageous plant. And the great foliage, to boot.

    Hi Steve, I’ll bet they are wonderful in your plantings. I imagine them with grasses. Mine are not, but that can be rectified, and will be when we divide Lucifer. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  40. Kate says:

    Hi, Frances;
    I would leave a comment but I’m speechless. So, I think I’ll just beeline it to my stack of flower catalogs to see what Crocosmias might tolerate living out here…

    Hi Kate, thanks. Keeping our eyes open for Crocosmias is a good habit to get into! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  41. Anna says:

    Enjoyed your post Frances and look forward to more of your winter plant portraits. ‘Lucifer’ was the first crocosmia I acquired too πŸ™‚

    Hi Anna, thanks. Glad to hear you also grow Lucifer. It has lots to offer in the garden. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  42. Lola says:

    Hi Frances, I have Lucifer but he hasn’t bloomed for a few yrs now. I guess I need to pull apart the corms & see if that won’t help. I also ordered last yr. a yellow one & an orange one. No luck with blooms from them. I hope they survive this cold weather.
    Yours look gorgeous.

    Hi Lola, thanks. It seems that Lucifer needs dug up and replanted each year, for the new corms grow over top the old and choke it out. It also takes a year for new ones to bloom, if in enough sun. Your new ones should bloom this year. If they don’t, I would dig and replant them as well.
    Frances

  43. It would be interesting to know if catalog orders for crocosmia took a sudden leap after your photos appeared, Frances! How lovely to see all these tropical colors and their blue & purple cohorts.

    I grew Crocosmia as annuals in Illinois (after reading Christopher’s comment my guess is the heavy clay soil had as much to do with that as the cold did) and until last weekend’s cold spell it seemed sure that some orange-toned Austin passalongs were established here, even reseeding in one spot. Hope they’re not dead but just “resting” ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Hi Annie, so nice to see you, thanks. I am still waiting for reseeding, and the seed pods on the plant were empty, unless the seeds were like dust and were invisible to my poor vision, even with the new glassses. Yours should be fine, it is much colder here, and at Christopher’s than your current frosty spell. Let’s hope they make it, I believe they will, being the eternal optimist. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  44. Susie says:

    NIce shots, I love crocosmias, what a great shot of surprise color in the garden.

    Hi Susie, thanks. The black garden would be quite somber without those bright jewels. I learned that the first year it was made. Reds and oranges were needed! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  45. sequoiagardens says:

    A lovely post, Frances! Your confusion is I think a sign of how similar crocosmias are. Although I have two species that grow wild in my garden, and spread to the point where we often treat them as weeds, named cultivars are hardly ever seen in South Africa. I know I bought ‘Lucifer’ with great excitement – but I seem immediately to have lost it. Most likely it was NOT ‘Lucifer’!
    I disagree with Diana about 1700 species. My source (Elsa Pooley, who I would describe as the most authorite wild-flower botanist on the summer rainfall areas of South Africa) states 9 species of which 7 are found in South Africa and the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘Index of Garden Plants’ says ‘around 7 species’.
    I would agree that good drainage is essential in surviving winter cold. Most species come from the high ground where they can be exposed to extreme cold, admittedly for short periods, but where wind chill could easily drop to below zero F at night. Winter wet is unusual and often comes as snow.

    Thanks Jack. I will let you and Diana straighten out the number of species question, but wonder if you did have Lucifer and it choked itself out with those corms on top of corms growth habit? The cold but well drained mountain spot would be comparable to Christopher’s mountainside too. Winter wet is common in my garden, but since we are on a slope, most, not all, plants can handle it.
    Frances

  46. Hi Frances,
    Lovely to see your Crocosmia collection. I’ve got a little collection of them – I will have to ban myself from late summer garden shows, as I always seem to come back with one or two more cultivars to squeeze in.

    Hi Happy, thanks. That is the trouble with plant shopping at certain times of the year. I have mostly early blooming daylilies, because that is when I go to the farms, first thing when they begin opening. We need to spread it out over a longer period. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  47. Gene Dummer says:

    We had a beautiful array of crocosmia for almost three years here in Michigan, and then last summer some kind of insect or worm got into the corms and killed them. Do you know what kind of insect or worm this was? How do we prevent this happening again?

    I am sorry that your crocosmias were infected by those insects. I have had no problems like that so far, so really can’t help you. I do know that the corms need to be divided every other year or so, for they will choke themselves out by growing on top of each other. Good sanitation and division would be my advice. Hope that will help.
    Frances

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