Crocosmia produces several flowers per spike. There are small-flower and large-flowered varieties. The leaves are sword-shaped. Crocosmia is better known as Montbretia. If planted in the fall, mulching will be necessary for at least the first year. After a year, they will be fairly winter hardy.

  • Family: Iridaceae
  • Common name: Montbretia
  • Origin: South Africa
  • Flower color: orange, red, yellow
  • Flowering period: July – October
  • Average plant height: 24 – 30 inches
  • Planting depth to base of bulbs: 2 inches
  • Spacing between bulbs: 4 inches
  • Type of bulb: corm
  • Light requirements: full sun (morning sun)
  • Landscape uses: border, beds, perennial garden

Crocosmias are very effective border plants, both for the perennial plant border as well as a border planted in annuals and other summer-flowering bulbous, cormous and tuberous plants. Another place to put them is next to a somewhat somber conifer border. The colors provided by a large clump of crocosmias will definitely enliven this area of the garden. Crocosmias also serve very well as cut flowers and are raised for this purpose by professional growers.

Combining with other plants

The yellow, orange and red colors of Crocosmias are at their loveliest next to blue-flowering plants such as Agapanthus, Aconitum (Monkshood), Salvia nemorosa, Aster amellus, Aster novi-belgii, Erigeron ’Dunkelste Aller’, Echinops ritro (Globe thistle), and Campanula lactiflora.

Principal varieties

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora (Montbretia) are divided into:

Small-flowered varieties such as: 

  • Crocosmia ‘Meteor’ – yellow tinged with orange.
  • Crocosmia ‘Red King’ – red with orange-yellow center.

Large-flowered varieties such as: 

  • Crocosmia ‘Emily McKenzie’ – orange.
  • Crocosmia masoniorum ‘Lucifer’ – tomato red.