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Growing Crocosmia

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Jul 25, 2016
Growing Crocosmia

Around this time of year customers always start to ask about crocosmia flowers. It seems people are starting to admire them as they are just coming into bloom. I could nearly predict the exact questions I’ll be asked about them in the garden centre in the next few weeks.

They are an extremely reliable late summer flowering plant that can add a much needed injection of rich colour to a flower bed just as other herbaceous flowers start to reach their peak. They have a generally long flowering period too with many varieties staying in flower well in to Autumn.

Crocosmia is a small genus of flowering plants in the iris family, Iridaceae. It is native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa, ranging from South Africa to Sudan. But as anyone who has grown crocosmia before will know the plant does just as well in our Irish climate as it does in its homeland.

It is a very versatile plant to have in a garden too as it grows so well in Ireland. Crocosmia is best planted in flowerbeds that are south facing as they prefer a lot of direct sunlight. They will grow well in most soil types but prefer a rich free draining soil.

Crocosmia Fairy GoldAvoid my mistake as a young gardener when I thought because the plant’s leaves resembled those of an Iris it must like marshy soil (They never grew that well at the side of my pond). It is best if you have heavy soil prone to water logging to incorporate grit or gravel into the soil to improve drainage. 

In CountryLife at the moment we have a few different varieties in stock that customers are clambering to get their hands on. Crocosmia Lucifer will always be the most popular variety that we sell in the garden centre. Gardeners love the plants flame red flowers and the impact it has in a flower bed. Lucifer is one of the taller crocosmias that you can buy and really adds a great structural element to a flowerbed.

Crocosmia George Davison is a fantastic variety for anyone who is not a fan of the strong oranges of the other crocosmia. This has brilliant yellow flowers which are tinged with a slight hint of orange. John Boots is another great golden yellow flowering variety that many gardeners are favouring at the moment.

Crocosmia Emily MckenzieIf you are after slightly larger flowers Emily Mckenzie is the crocosmia you are looking for. This variety has lovely big flowers and an amazing pattern to its petals. The petals are a burnt orange colour with a mahogany band or ring right in the centre of the flower. Fairy Gold is a really special one to keep an eye out for. This variety has great orange flowers but the leaves are the real selling point of it. Its leaves are copper in colour and the contrast between the leaves and the flowers works brilliantly in a flowerbed.

When it comes to planting crocosmia in your garden it best to plant them in groups. As a rule of thumb odd numbers look best in a garden so try to plant them in groups of 3,5 or 7 if you have the space to. And don’t be afraid to mix varieties in the one bed. I think that a mixture of crocosmia works extremely well in a bed. The flowers open at different times and the variations in oranges and yellows works brilliantly to warm up a garden. 

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at:

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!