14 Types of Crocosmia (Montbretia) Plants

Crocosmia, also known as montbretia, is a small genus of summer-blooming perennials in the iris family, Iridaceae. It is native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa, commonly South Africa to Sudan. One species is endemic to Madagascar. The group of about 11 species and more than 400 cultivars are characterized by arching stems that are lined with flowers in shades of bright orange, red and yellow. 

Crocosmia plants grow from corms, which are bulb-like underground stems. They produce long, sword-shaped leaves that form dense clumps. The flowers are usually arranged in clusters. Each flower consists of six petals fused into a tubular shape, with a contrasting-colored throat.

In general, crocosmia plants are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 10. Crocosmia corms (similar to bulbs) can be planted in the spring or fall. They can be slow to sprout, especially if temperatures are cool. Usually the corms are planted 2 to 3 inches deep and 8 to 10 inches apart, with the pointed end facing up.

They are relatively low-maintenance and can tolerate a range of soil types, although they prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil. Once established, they are drought-tolerant.

List of Crocosmia Varieties

  1. ‘Lucifer’
  2. ‘Carmin Brilliant’
  3. Fire King
  4. ‘Citronella’
  5. ‘Emberglow’
  6. Emily McKenzie’
  7. Star of the East
  8. Solfatare
  9. Rowallane Yellow
  10. George Davison
  11. Jackanapes
  12. Severn Sunrise
  13. Limpopo
  14. Bright Eyes

Description And Pictures

Crocosmia Lucifer

It has an upright growing habit, reaching up to 1.6 meters (5 feet) tall when in flower. It has mid-green, pleated blade-like leaves and arching deep red flower stems bearing glowing orange, tubular flowers with a paler orange throat.

The blooms are long-lasting. It can grow in full sun or partial shade and tolerates drier conditions once established.

Emily McKenzie

The cultivar ‘Emily McKenzie’ is named after Emily Mackenzie, a Scottish botanist. It features start shaped bright orange flowers with a deep maroon stripe and a golden yellow throat, which rise above upright clumps of deep green, strappy foliage.

This plant blooms profusely from midsummer through early fall. It can grow up to 24-30 inches tall and spread to cover a 12-18 inch area.

George Davison

Crocosmia “George Davison”, also known as Montbretia “George Davison”, Coppertips “George Davison”, or Falling Stars “George Davison” is a hybrid between Crocosmia aurea and Crocosmia pottsii.

It has upright swords of golden yellow, freesia-like flowers that bloom from late summer to autumn. It is ideal for growing in swathes through the herbaceous border, particularly in hot or tropical planting schemes.

It is named after George Davison, a pioneering crocosmia breeder and Gardener at Westwick Hall in Norfolk, England. George Davison bred and named this cultivar, which is his favorite bright yellow that shades to gold. It was registered in 1900 and won an RHS Award of Merit in 1902.

Crocosmia Emberglow

It produces clusters of scarlet red flowers with a deep orange or yellow throat, reminiscent of glowing embers. The flowers are tubular and trumpet-shaped, arranged in upright spikes. They are long and open wider than some other Crocosmia varieties.

Emberglow has a moderate growth rate and reaches a mature size of 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide. The plant is well suited to beds, borders, and containers.

Crocosmia Fire King

Produce fiery blooms that change color as they mature. They start as a bright orange and then transition to an intense fiery red with yellow throats, living up to the “Fire King” name. The flowers are tubular and form clusters at the top of the stems.

This cultivar typically grows to a height of around 24 to 36 inches (60 to 90 cm). It can be used borders, cottage gardens, and mixed perennial beds. It pair beautifully with other summer-blooming perennials.

Crocosmia Citronella

Citronella’ has soft yellow luminous flowers, which bloom in clusters along tall, slender stems. It features long, sword-shaped leaves that form dense clumps of foliage. The flowers are tubular and trumpet-shaped, with a contrasting darker throat.

They have a long blooming season, starting in late summer (August) and continuing through September.

Crocosmia ‘Carmin Brilliant’

Crocosmia ‘Carmin Brilliant’ is a hybrid cultivar that reaches a mature height of around 3 feet (0.9 meters). The flowers are carmine-pink flowers. Each flower has a golden yellow throat. The reverse side of the petals feature a rich scarlet-orange flush. These colors are further accentuated by the contrasting crimson-purple calyxes (the sepals that enclose the flower bud) and bronzy-purple stems.

The flowers are complemented by attractive clumps of erect, medium green, sword-shaped leaves. This Crocosmia has been recognized for its beauty by the Royal Horticultural Society, earning the prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Crocosmia Star of the East

Star of the East’ is a bi-colored variety that create a dynamic and lively display. It features large, wide-opening flowers in shades of orange, with burnt orange buds and darker backs. The flowers can be up to 4 inches (10 cm) wide and open gradually from the bottom of the stalk upwards.

In contrast to the petals, the throat have a creamy shade with burgundy freckles. The flowers are long-lasting. They stay for about 5-8 weeks from mid to late summer.

Crocosmia Solfatare

Unlike many Crocosmia varieties with fiery orange or red blooms, ‘Solfatare’ has soft flowers in shades of apricot or pale yellow. The flowers also have a creamy yellow center. Solfatare’ is a historic Crocosmia variety, dating back to 1886.

The plant reaches a mature height of around 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters). It also has attractive clumps of erect, sword-shaped leaves that are a rich bronze-green color. They are reliable bloomers, starting in late summer and lasting through early fall.

Crocosmia Rowallane Yellow

Rowallane Yellow’ has clusters of good-sized, rich yellow flowers held horizontally along single-sided stems. The individual flowers are unmistakably look like lilies, with their outward-facing stamens and stigmas. The yellow color is warm and sunny.

This Crocosmia has been recognized for its beauty by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), earning the prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Crocosmia Jackanapes

Unlike many Crocosmia varieties with single-colored blooms, ‘Jackanapes’ is a bi-colored variety. The flowers are funnel-shaped and a bright yellow-orange on the front, with a contrasting deep orange-red or scarlet color on the reverse.

It reaches a mature height of only around 2 feet (60 cm). It has a spread of about 1.5 feet (40 cm), forming neat clumps that won’t overwhelm your planting design.

Crocosmia Severn Sunrise

It is characterized by its narrow, sword-shaped leaves that are green in color. It has clusters of upward-facing flowers that start a bright orange and gradually transition to a soft salmon pink as they mature. These flowers are borne on strong, arching stems.

The plant grows to a height of approximately 50cm and is well-suited for gravel gardens. It is somewhat drought-tolerant. It can tolerate temperatures down to -15°C (5°F) to -12.2°C (10°F).

It starts flowering in late summer (August) and continues through September. This Crocosmia has been recognized for its garden merit by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) with the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) designation.

Crocosmia Limpopo

It features narrow, sword-shaped leaves and striking sprays of large, wide-open, coral flowers with a contrasting sunny-yellow throat. These blooms can be up to 3 inches (6 cm) wide.

It reaches a mature height of around 28-36 inches (80-90 cm). The plant is well-suited for gravel gardens, as it can thrive in any soil as long as it is not waterlogged.

Crocosmia Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes has sprays of 8-12 large, bright orange, upward-facing or forward-facing flowers with a contrasting scarlet-red eye in the center. It reaches a mature height of 18-24 inches (45-60 cm).

It is good for front of borders, edging pathways, or even container planting. It offers a reliable bloom season, typically starting in mid-summer and lasting through late summer.

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