August 7, 2007

Hot Plant Trend alert- Welcome to Crocosmia

Crocosmia - the Gladioli of the millenium.

Well, more acurately, the Irid of the Millenium. These members of the Iris family are the South African bulbous plant that is taking the horticultural world by storm,a dn just because you can't find them at your local Home Depot, Tescos or Home center, it doesn't mean that thay aren't hot. Hardy in USDA ZOne 6 and warmer (I am in zone 5B, outside of Boston) they can winter over a zone or two colder given the right site.

Once known as Montbretia, (and still referred as such in old gardening books) the Crocosmia is quicky becoming the 'IT' plant, well, if you can find IT. Sure, you can find the old stand by Crocosmia 'Lucifer'. a hardey redish flowering form sometimes available at garden centers, but I urge you to try some of the new crosses, for they are still relatively unknown, and why not be the first person on your block with these flaming colors in your garden. The new crosses are more available in the UK, where many new crosses exist, as well as some major collections, here in the USA, only a few mailorder nurseries carry the truly fine crosses,, and they sell out early. Try Heronswood (www.heronsnwood.com and Plant Delights. The plants I recieved from Plant Delights Nursery, we're much more vigorous and larger than the Heronswood plants (I ordered a dozen from each, but the varieties are different, so it's worth trying both as sources. The Plant delights plants arrived planted in square nusery pots, nicely tied in plastic bags, the Heronswood (now owned by Burpee) plants arrived tossed around loose in a box, with only newspaper as packing material, and the plants we're almost dead, knocked out of thier soil and pots. Of course, this could have happened in shipping, but with ten years of Dan Hinkley directed packing, this never happened.

This fall or next spring, be sure to order the new hybrids and crosses of Crocosmia, not only are they spectacular performers, spreading slowly and nicely, they are a brilliant burst of color, in the August Garden, and in a palette that is complementary with stylish limes and chartruse, as well as burgundy foliaged plants.

A selection of my first year planted Crocosmia.

From left:
1. Crocosmia 'Lucifer'
2. Crocosmia masoniorum ' Blaze'
3. Crocosmia masoniorum 'Emberglow'
4. Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora "Star of the East' (without brushmarks on petals..it seems to depend on what source.)
5. Crocosmia Walcroy PPAF from UK's Davis Tristan


  1. Hi there! I hope you get this comment....I didn't see a link to an email. I was actually searching for Montbretia because I am getting married next fall and I want to grow all my own flowers.... you know how it is as a gardener, thats MY job! (haha). Anyways...a mid to late September wedding is what I'm shooting for and I'm looking up some ideas for bouquet flowers. I think Crocosmia would be perfect! But, I have never actually tried to grow them. I live in Needham, MA (which I believe is zone 6A) and I am so happy I found your advice to order them from Plant Delight. I'm just wondering when I SHOULD order them from plant delight in order to grow them and have them in bloom in time for a wedding a year from now.

  2. Just received my first order of Crocosmia from Dutch Gardens, http://www.dutchgardens.com/
    They will go in a south facing bed where plants do well wintering over. Says they will bloom late summer. Expect they will give the garden great color when much has gone by.

  3. Hi
    I am the National Collection holder of Crocosmia here in the uk.
    I have around 275+ varieties and I must say that they are the most wonderful plants in the world.
    When you see them in a mass border, the colours are so bold and striking!!!


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