Friday, July 22, 2011

Favorite July Flowers: Crocosmia

I recently hosted a potluck for Master Gardeners at my home (talk about peer pressure!) and the most asked about flowers in the garden were the crocosmia.  The variety I grow is 'Lucifer' which is bright red, blooms in July and reaches a height of about 4'.  They are especially striking planted toward the rear of the flower bed with yellow or white flowers in the foreground.  They make great cut flowers adding a lovely arching form to bouquets.  But the best thing of all is that they are silly easy to grow and multiply!  

Crocosmia Growing Tips:

Plant:  These South African native bulbs (corms, actually) like well-drained soil.  In spring (also fall in warm winter areas) set corms 2" deep, 3" apart in full sun to part sun.  They are hardy to zone 5 and will reappear each spring.  They are also good in pots.
Propagate:  When foliage dies back, dig up corms, divide and replant.  'Lucifer' also self sows seed if the spent blooms are left on the plant to ripen.
Care:  Do not over water as corms can rot in soggy ground.  They seem to bloom well whether or not I fertilize and are virtually pest free.  Once bloom is finished, leave foliage until it browns and withers as it is producing food for the corms for next year's bloom.

Happy Gardening!

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