Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’: Characteristics And How To Grow

Crocosmia (Crocosmia spp.) is a genus of summer-blooming perennials native to Africa. The group of about 11 species and more than 400 cultivars usually has tubular flowers in shades of bright orange, red and yellow. Cocosmia is a member of the Iridaceae family.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is a popular and hardy variety of Crocosmia, capable of surviving winters in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. It native to South Africa, parts of central and east Africa, Sudan, and Madagascar. The ‘Lucifer’ variety was developed in 1966 and is recognized as the most popular and hardy crocosmia in the trade.

The plant produces bright red, tubular flowers that appear in midsummer atop slightly arching, sparsely branched stems, reaching a height of 2 to 4 feet . These flowers attract hummingbirds and other pollinators. The foliage of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ consists of pleated, sword-like leaves that are attractive even when the plant is not in bloom.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is easy to plant and grow because it is adaptable to many growing conditions and needs little maintenance once established, although the corms must be planted at the right time of year to ensure reliable blooming year after year.

General Characteristics of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

  • Tubular, funnel-shaped flowers borne in clusters. They are right red to orange-red in color. Each flower spike can hold numerous blooms.
  • Flowers bloom for several weeks from mid to late summer.
  • The plant grows to a height of 24 to 36 inches (90 to 120 cm) with a spread of about 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm).
  • It forms clumps that can spread to about 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) wide.
  • Moderately fast-growing perennial.
  • Hardy in USDA zones 6 to 10 (though can tolerate some colder conditions with proper winter protection).
  • Has sword-shaped, upright, dark green leaves.
  • Erect, slender stems rise from a basal clump of leaves. They are usually sturdy.
  • The plant has a root system consisting of corms, which are bulb-like structures.
  • Rhizomatous root system, forming clumps over time.
  • The lifespan of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ can vary, but with proper care and division every few years, it can continue to thrive and bloom for many years.
  • It prefers fertile, well-drained soils with a neutral pH of 6.0 to 8.0, in full to partial sun locations.
  • In colder regions, the corms might need to be dug up and stored in a dry medium over winter to ensure survival.
  • ‘Lucifer’ is part of the Iridaceae family and is a perennial.
  • It can attract hummingbirds and other pollinators.
  • Deadheading and cutting off faded flowers can help the plant to keep blooming.
  • It’s often used by florists in flower arrangements.
  • Attracts pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds.
  • Generally low maintenance once established.
  • Can be grown in containers or in garden beds.
  • Requires full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.
  • May need division every few years to maintain vigor and prevent overcrowding.

Alternatives to Crocosmia Lucifer

  • Kniphofia (Red Hot Pokers): These perennials offer similar tall, spiky red flowers and are generally well-behaved. They bloom in mid to late summer and prefer full sun to part shade.
  • Gaillardia (Blanketflower): These daisy-like flowers come in various colors, including red and yellow, and are known for their drought tolerance. They bloom from early summer to fall and prefer full sun.
  • Helenium (Sneezeweed): These daisy-like perennials have a long bloom season from midsummer to fall and come in shades of yellow, orange, and red. They prefer full sun and moist, well-drained soil.
  • Crocosmia Emily McKenzie: This is a dwarf variety of Crocosmia with orange flowers that bloom in mid to late summer. It’s a clump-forming perennial that grows 18-24 inches tall and prefers full sun to part shade. It’s considered less aggressive than Crocosmia Lucifer.
  • Montbretia Masonii: This is another dwarf Crocosmia variety with coppery-orange flowers that bloom in mid to late summer. It grows 12-18 inches tall and prefers full sun to part shade. It’s also considered less aggressive than Crocosmia Lucifer.

How to plant, grow and care for Crocosmia lucifer

Planting Crocosmia Lucifer

Choosing the Right Time

  • Plant Crocosmia Lucifer corms in the spring after all danger of frost has passed.
  • Ideally, wait for the soil temperature to warm up a bit.

Selecting the Location

  • Pick a spot with full sun for best flowering.
  • Partial shade is acceptable, especially in hot summer climates where it can help extend flower life.
  • Ensure the soil is well-drained. Crocosmia won’t tolerate soggy conditions.
  • Choose a location sheltered from strong winds.

Planting the Corms

  • Dig planting holes 2-3 inches deep (5-8 cm) and space them 6-8 inches apart (15-20 cm) for clusters.
  • If planting in rows, leave 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) between plants.
  • Place the corms with the pointed end facing upwards.
  • Cover the corms with soil and press it down gently.
  • Water the planting area thoroughly.
  • Consider adding a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Growing Crocosmia Lucifer


  • Water regularly during the growing season, especially during hot and dry periods.
  • Container-grown Crocosmia will dry out faster and need more frequent watering.


  • Apply a balanced fertilizer once in early spring before new growth emerges.


  • Every 2-3 years, you can divide congested Crocosmia clumps to maintain vigor and prevent overcrowding.
  • Do this in fall or spring before new growth appears.
  • Simply lift the plants, separate the corms gently, and replant the divisions.

Caring for Crocosmia Lucifer


  • Crocosmia plants rarely bloom during their first year in the garden, so don’t be troubled if only foliage appears after planting. 
  • Remove spent flowers to encourage continued blooming and prevent unwanted self-seeding.

Winter Care

  • In colder regions, you may need to lift and store the corms in a cool, dry place over winter to protect them from freezing temperatures. Replant them in the spring when the danger of frost has passed.
  • After the foliage dies back in fall, you can mulch the planting area with a layer of leaves or straw.

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