Plant of the Month: Crocosmia

August 1, 2014

Crocosmia  'Columbus'

Crocosmia ‘Columbus’

We just love this plant…and so do hummingbirds. The tubular flowers rise above grass-like foliage and bloom in warm colors ranging from yellow to orange to deep red. They attract hummingbirds like no other. They look great in swaths in and amongst other shrubs and trees. Crocosmia does die back completely in the winter, so plant them near something evergreen that can claim the space when they do.

Once established they are drought tolerant and require little maintenance. The most common variety, ‘Lucifer’ tends to be a bit of a thug and will spread quite aggressively, so we prefer to use one of the lesser aggressive cultivars like, ‘Emily McKenzie’, or my favorite, ‘Columbus’, which has yellow-orange flowers which contrast beautifully with the purple sepals. ‘Solfatare’ has yellow flowers and a bronze tint to its foliage.

Plant Crocosmia in a sunny area with well-drained soil- a great choice for a sunny hillside. Many varieties can be quite aggressive in warmer climates so if that’s where you live you may want avoid this plant all together, but here in the Pacific Northwest they are fairly easy to keep under control by dividing them every couple of years by digging up a portion of their bulb-like Corms.

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