Crocosmia. Sounds almost cosmic, right? What do you know about these brilliant, summer plants? Have you ever watched them bloom? From the color of its cultivars to its awesome blooming pattern, this plant has the potential to be a vibrant star in your garden for so many reasons! Read on to learn about more in this Crocosmia plant profile.
First, the design. Imagine groups of orange, red, or pink trumpet-shaped flowers. These flowers are clustered at the end of tall stems which are surrounded by upright, sword-shaped leaves protruding out of the ground. Wow! This alone can give your garden a whole new tropical and unique look. Your neighbors will be asking you where you bought these amazing plants and sneak looks at your yard when you're not looking!
Second, did you know that the Crocosmia will attract hummingbirds and all kinds of other pollinators? Pollinators are not able to resist this plant due to its shape and variety of colors. Read on to learn what else you can do to attract pollinators to your garden.
Finally, with its climatic growing range, the Crocosmia is a perfect plant for your garden because it can thrive just about anywhere, in almost any zone (with a few exceptions, of course). Continue reading below to find out if you will be able to grow it in your yard!
Interesting fact: You can attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your yard with flowers that are red, yellow, orange, pink, and/or purple. They also love a long, tubular (or trumpet-shaped) design.
Why We're Featuring a Crocosmia Plant Profile for June
You could say this star in the garden "captivated" our attention long ago with its uniqueness and beauty. Therefore, it just had to be our pick for the June plant profile of the month (Yes, we know it is technically July. Call it a bit of a "summer brain" delay on our monthly plant profile posts. Better late than never, right?)
Another reason we choose Crocosmia is due to its July bloom time in our zone 8b. The vibrant, spiky red blooms are equally welcomed by both us and the pollinators.
So, where exactly did the Crocosmia originate? How should you maintain and care for them in your garden? Read on to learn more about the history, common characteristics and even a few fun facts about this fantastic plant.
Our Crocosmia plant profile guide below is meant for beginner gardeners but can be used by anyone who wants to learn more about this captivating plant. We hope it's helpful!
Crocosmia Plant Profile: Brief History
The Crocosmia, part of the Iris family, originates from the tropical areas of Southern Africa. Over time, the plants have been bred and propagated throughout the world.
The name comes from the Greek words of Krokos (Saffron) and osme (odor) referring to the smell of dried Saffron leaves.
In 1879, a Frenchman was able to cross different species together thus initiating the variety of Crocosmia cultivars we have in existence. Today, this beautiful plant has over 11 species with numerous varieties and cultivars.
Did you know that this plant is actually considered a weed in parts of England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and parts of Hawaii? Due to its vigorous breeding over the last couple hundred years, Crocosmia adapted so well it became a nuisance. This speaks to its overall adaptability. These plants can easily reproduce to fill in open spaces in your garden. Good thing they are easy to dig up and place in other parts of your garden by transplanting their Corm (a type of bulb) root-system. By the way, if you haven't encountered a "corm"- a type of bulb plant - before, think of a Tulip or Daffodil bulb and then squish them so they are more flat than tall and you have a Corm.
Crocosmia thrives so well it is perfect for beginner gardeners. Also, it makes a great addition to containers on patios or decks.
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Ok, now that you’ve caught up on a brief history, let's move on to the common characteristics of the Crocosmia!
"The Beginners Guide to the Captivating Crocosmia" Plant Profile
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|Common/Trade Name||Crocosmia, formerly called/known as Tritonia|
|Botanical/Scientific Name||Crocosmia aurea; Crocosmia masoniorum; others are Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora, Crocosmia hybrids.|
|Cultivars||'Bressingham Blaze'; 'Citronella'; 'Emily McKenzie'; 'Golden Fleece'; 'Lucifer'; 'Star of the East'.|
|Zones||Sunset= Zones 5 to 24.|
USDA= Hardy to zones 6 to 9.
|General Information||Attractive to different pollinators for their flower color, shape, and the plant seeds are eaten by different bird species.|
|Native Environment||Tropical and Southern Africa.|
|Water Needs||Regular or moderate during growth and bloom times.|
|Mature Height/Width||Leaves grow almost straight up and are 2.5 feet long with flowers on same leaf-stems reaching a total of 3-4 feet tall.|
|Bloom Time||Beginning to mid-Summer or Spring in really hot climates.|
|Flower Colors||Orange, Red, or Yellow, or a mix.|
|Number of Species||11+|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun with some shade in the hottest climates.|
|Soil Needs||Well-drained, enriched soil.|
|Fertilize?||Sure. Every 2-weeks or so with a balanced fertilizer, but not required. If really fast draining soil and/or poor soil nutrition, then definitely use a balanced fertilizer.|
|Plant Spacing||Plant corms/plants 2-inches deep and 3-inches apart.|
|Suggested Companion Plant/s||Daisies, Hydrangea's, Vinca, Rhody's, Boxwoods, Viburnums, and other foundation plants.|
|Maintenance Level||Low to Moderate and most maintenance after blooming is over and plants die back to the ground. Can treat like other bulbs like Daffodils or Tulips in this same fashion.|
|Pest Susceptibility||Susceptible to Glaidolous Rust, Bulb Bacterial Rot, Spider-Mites.|
|Poisonous to Pets?||As a member of the iris family, it may cause serious reactions if your puppy, cat, or horse eats the corms, including diarrhea, excessive slobbering, stomach pain, and vomiting.|
|Edible for Humans?||All parts of this plant are poisonous to humans.|
|Fun (or historical) Facts||- These plants are considered a Corm (a type of Bulb)|
- Useful for splashes of color and for cut flowers, can last up to 2-weeks.
-Closely related to Freesia, Ixia, and Sparaxis.
- Can dig and store these corms (if winter temps are above 10-degrees F or –12-degrees C)
Crocosmia Plant Profile: Product Recommendations
Want to buy your own Crocosmia after learning all about their characteristics? Check out this great website for one of the best online nurseries that will ship you the plants. Check out the Crocosmia 'Lucifer' from Nature Hills Nursery - ON SALE!
Or, do you need to stock up on other types of plants? Here's a great summer deal which will help you fill up your garden with late summer and fall blooming plants. Check out this Everyday Deal! Buy 3 Perennial Plants and Save 20% from Burpee! (updated links coming soon!)
- How to Attract Pollinators to Your Garden Like a Boss!
- Top 5 Best Pollinators You Should Attract to Your Garden Right Now!
- Bonus Ep 3: How to Rent Mason Bees to Support Your Spring Garden
Crocosmia Plant Profile: Conclusion
Crocosmia is captivating, cosmic, crafty, and cool. The colors. The shapes. Once you have encountered this beautiful plant, you will be hooked. Its ubiquitous uses in your garden can bring depth and texture, while also providing respite to passing pollinators. Your "garden eye" will forever look for this plants' form to complement the surrounding world.
For more information on different species, go to the Pacific Bulb Society's website and geek out on different species for your garden! You could find the perfect Crocosmia to compliment your garden.
Well, that's all for now. Thanks for reading and we hope we inspired you or educated you in some way with our review about the captivating Crocosmia. For information about updating your yard for the spring and summer season, check out our podcast page. Also, If you're interested in learning about more plants, check out some of our other monthly plant profiles below:
- The Fantastic Fuchsia
- The Curious Calla Lily: April Plant Profile
- A Rose By Any Other Name: February Plant Profile
- The Divine Daffodil: March Plant Profile
Make sure to watch for our next post where we will discuss the Shasta Daisy for July's plant profile of the month. Let us know if you have any questions or comments anytime, we would love to help.
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See you in the garden!
~ Sean and Allison
- South Africa Biodiversity Institute - Crocosmia aurea
- Hort.net - A brief history of Crocosmia
- Pacific Bulb Society - Crocosmia