Crocosmia is easy to grow and flowers from mid to late summer in strong shades of red, orange and yellow. It is reliable, a great border plant with lovely bold flowers in strong colours. Crocosmia is herbaceous, which means it dies back over the winter to bare earth, regrowing each spring. Crocosmia forms clumps with attractive, sword-shaped leaves and flowers for a long time.
Crocosmia originates from South Africa and has flowers in all the sunrise colours with much variation in height; varieties such as Jackanapes, and Canary Bird can be as small as 60cms (24") compared with Lucifer and Columbus which grow to 120 cms (48".) Height can be an important factor where to place plants in the border.
Crocosmia is easy to grow, possibly too easy as some varieties are vigorous, if not invasive. To check growth, pull up and remove any unwanted spread, the plants corm (root) lies close to the surface, making it easy to remove. After a few years and the Crocosmia plant has become established, it may be necessary to dig out around the plant to thin it each year to stop it taking over. In the autumn I dig out, or pull out by hand, around the edge of the patch of the Crocosmia to make an obvious demarkation line between it and the surrounding plants and also so it does now swamp them.
Crocosmia Lucifer, illustrated in the left and right images, looks magnificent, and is a tall architectural plant, and as a taller variety, it requires support. In terms of maintenance, most Crocosmia flop over, which can smother plants next to them, and for which reason they are best supported, even the shorter varieties.
Also, some specialist varieties, often seen at plant fairs and shows, are attractive, but unfortunately they may not be fully hardy. (explanation of frost hardy)
Crocosmia also makes great cut flowers and as the clumps produce so many blooms there is plenty for the garden and the vase.