Montbretia, also known as Crocosmia, is a genus of perennial plantsthat grows from a bulb like structure called a corm. Many of these plants are native to South Africa, including Madagascar. They are largely found in temperate and subtropical climates, with many growing in grasslands.
Cousins to the gladioli, montbretia are hardy plants that produce clumps of green sword-shaped leaves and tall arching spikes of funnel-shaped blossoms. Grown commercially from mid to late summer, many varieties are now available in a range of hot colors.
The most popular being the vibrant red variety, Crocosmia Lucifer, noted for its outstanding cluster of flowers. The colour is so bright, they also seem to glow! These glorious flower spikes can grow up to 90 cm tall in good conditions.
Crocosmia Lucifer produces several attractive bold red flowers per spike that flare out along the dark green stems making excellent cut flowers that last well – the long stems let you position the flower at almost any height in your arrangement.
The name Crocosmia is derived from the Greek words “krokos” for saffron and “osme” for smell, referring to the saffron-like scent when the dried flowers are dipped in water.
Crocosmias are commonly known in the U.S. as Copper Tips or Falling Stars and as Montbretia in Britain.
The corms that should be planted approximately 8 cm in the ground during spring and dug back up in the fall for cool, dry storage indoors. Although, in mild climates, the corms can survive mild winters in the ground.
Crocosmia make excellent fresh cut flowers. They are very dramatic and eye-catching in pedestal arrangements and equally so when cut short for centerpieces. They are an amazing flower for any style of arrangement. Cut blooms must not be left out of water too long, or else their colorful flowers will quickly fade.