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.
One of the most popular varieties, Crocosmia Lucifer, illustrated right, is tall reaching up to a metre, other varieties are more suited for middle of the border being around 60-80cms, so you need to select the variety carefully ensure it is the correct height for where you want to plant it. Crocosmia makes an impressive addition to the border, being 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.
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 tend to flop over, which can smother plants next to them, and for which reason they are best supported, even the shorter varieties.
Crocosmia originates from South Africa and 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") and height is an important factor as to where to place plants in the border. 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 make great cut flowers and as the clumps produce so many blooms there are plenty for the garden and the vase.