Some Crocosmia Facts you may find useful
Crocosmia come mainly from South Africa but they also exist in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique, Lesotho, Madagascar and Tanzania.
The Common Montbretia, (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) was the first hybrid Crocosmia
and was bred in France in 1879 by Victor Lemoine of Nancy.
The plant Montbretia was named after Antoine Fran's Ernest Conquebert de Monbret,
a botanist who accompanied Napoleon on his Egypt campaign in 1798.
Crocosmia, (kro-KOS-mee-ah), is so named because the dried leaves smell of saffron when rubbed, and after the Greek words, krokos for saffron and osme for smell
The Common Montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) was bred by crossing
Crocosmia pottsii (a species that grows near streams) with Crocosmia aurea (a woodland species).
This is why most Montbretia prefer a little shade, lots of water, organic matter and nutrients.
Most hybrids bred before the second world war were
Montbretia Hybrids (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora)
Montbretia bear much larger flowers if grown in pots with plenty of organic matter and feed,
and they make superb specimen plants for containers on the patio.
Some Crocosmia are pollinated by South African sunbirds in the wild.
On the west coast of the USA they have become an invaluable plant for attracting hummingbirds
into peoples gardens, they provide hummingbirds with a rich source of nectar.
In the UK the bright colours of Crocosmia also attract hoverflies to the garden.
Hoverflies are a natural predator, and like the ladybird, eat aphids and greenfly.
Crocosmia leaves should be left on after flowering and not cut back to the ground as the old leaves will protect new emerging shoots from frost and hedgehogs will also hibernate in the
old leaves which they roll around themselves to form a ball.
The Common Montbretia and a few other varieties have given the genus a bad reputation because they spread so vigorously and have become weeds throughout the world. Other vigorous spreaders are some horticultural forms of Crocosmia pottsii including 'Red King' and 'Red Star', Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Meteore' and Crocosmia 'Marcotijn'
which is usually sold as Crocosmia masoniorum.
Far more Crocosmia hybrids are extinct than survive in cultivation. However, if we try and find out the names of what we do have. More Crocosmia hybrids may be brought back into cultivation.
This page is borrowed, with the kind permission of David Fenwick.
Crocosmia 'Little Redhead'.