Flower stem with brilliant red flowers opening
Stem of Crocosmia flowers. Credit: Jacques GAIMARD from Pixabay

Crocosmia crocosmiflora, C. masoniorum, and hybrids, aka Montbretia

Crocosmias are native to tropical and southern Africa. There are a few hybrids that offer a variety of flower colors and foliage.  The most commonly available and grown is ‘Lucifer’, a 4 ft. tall variety with tall, striking flower stems with brilliant red flowers. All last up to two weeks in the vase. And they are very deer resistant.

Crocosmia grows from corms that are spring planted. It forms a clump of plants over the years. It’s a striking plant /nice to use in perennial borders

What Crocosmia Flowers are Like

Orange tubular flowers hanging on a stem
An orange variety of Crocosmia. See Source to find them. Credit: Love Art. Live Art. from Pixabay
Red flower on Crocosmia stem
Crocosmia flower in my garden

The flowers are long and tubular, the shape that’s loved by hummingbirds. They’re about 1½ in. wide and 2 in. long, arranged in pairs along the flower stem. They bloom from the bottom to the top and spent blooms are dropped cleanly from the stem.

The most commonly sold and planted is ‘Lucifer’, a brilliant red flower. There are also varieties with yellow flowers:‘Cirtronella’, orange: ‘Emily McKenzie’, scarlet: ‘Emberglow’, bright yellow: ‘Voyager’… and more.

What the Plants are Like

Green sword shaped leaves with red flowers above them
Clump of blooming Crocosmia 'Lucifer' Credit: Hans from Pixabay

The stems are sword shaped and tall, ‘Lucifer’ grows up to 4 ft., while other varieties are in in the 2 ft. or 3 ft. range.

Crcoosmia grows from a corm and goes dormant in the winter so that the foliage dies all the way down. It emerges in late spring. The flower stems grow and bloom in mid-summer, when it’s hot.

How to Grow Crocosmia

Zones : 3-9, they can tolerate low temps of  10 ͦ to -5 ͦ  F (-12- -20 ͦ C) with mulch in the winter, colder than that and you’ll need to dig them up and store them inside in a cool, dry place.

Full sun, some shade in hot areas.

Plant the corms in average to good, well-drained garden soil. Set the 2 in. deep and 3 in. apart.

Crocosmias will form nice, big clumps. When the flowers and overall vigor of the clump declines, divide and replant from the clump.

Harvesting Crocosmia Flowers

Cut the stem as far down as you can go. Place them in warm water and let them sit in a cool, dark place for about 8 hrs to condition. Then arrange them.

My Favorite Variety

‘Lucifer’ is the most popular and most widely available. And it’s stunningly tall, making it a good plant for perennial borders, and the red flowers match the heat of summer. Definitely my favorite.

Sources for Crocosmia

Nurseries carry them in the late winter and spring, usually packaged in groups of 5 or 6.

For mail order:

Eden Brothers

American Meadows

Bluestone Perennials

Flowers to Go With Crocosmia Flowers

Here are some flowers that bloom around the same time and will go well with crocosmia.

Golden Glow: The tall wiry stems and strong yellow color work well with crocosmia flowers

Delpinium: These tall beauties with strong colors should be in their second bloom at the time crocosmia blooms.

Sunflowers: Tall and colorful, these work well with crocosmia

Tithonia: Long-stemmed and brilliant orange , tithonia will be a hot match for Crocosmia

African Marigolds: These with their strong orange and tall stems are fun with crocosmia flowers