DESCRIPTION: These are tender bulbs from South Africa. They belong to the Iris family, Iridaceae. They look similar to the Gladiolus and grow 2-4 feet high. They produce orange-yellow, orange with dark blotches or yellow and brick red colored flowers from July to October.
POTTING In October, 5 or 6 corms are potted an inch deep in 6-inch pots filled with equal parts fibrous loam, leaf mold and old manure. A bit of sand should also be mixed in. Place the pots in a cold frame and water the soil sparingly until they begin to grow. They are then transferred to a greenhouse having a minimum winter temperature of 45 degrees. Water isn't given and the soil is kept dry after they stop blooming and the foliage begins to wither. Repotting is done in October. Crocosmia can be planted outdoors in mild climates. They will flourish in well-drained, sandy soil. Plant them, 4 to 5 inches deep and 4 inches apart. Each corm should be surrounded by a layer of sand. Protection from frosty weather should be given by covering them with a 6-inch deep layer of dry leaves or litter. Every three years in October the plants should be lifted and divided.
PROPAGATION: In October they can be divided or the small offsets can be planted separately. In September, October or March, seeds can be sown thinly, as soon as they're ripe, in flats filled with equal parts of sandy loam and leaf mold. Cover the seeds lightly, ¼ inch deep and place them in a greenhouse having a 55- to 60-degree temperature.
VARIETIES: C. aurea and its variety imperialis and maculata; C. crocosmiiflora; C. Pottsii.
Back to our botanical home page.