Crocosmia: Gladiolus’ Cooler, Hardier Cousin


“How do I grow Crocosmia?

Marion

See Marion’s question here.

__________________________________________________________________

Hi Marion,

Thanks for the question. Crocosmia are awesome plants to grow — and really simple too!

A single glance at the plant forms of glads and crocosmia leaves no question as to whether these are related. (Absolutely: they are.) But these cousins certainly approach life differently. Glads are the “belle of the ball” types, with kaleidoscope blooms and flowers festooned with wild patterns and ruffles. Crocosmia stick to the yellow-orange-red side of the color wheel and deliver a concentrated, straight-forward presentation with glacefully arched spray of blossoms. Crocosmia are also tougher when it come to winter temperatures, weathering Zone 5 or Zone 6 chills, depending on the variety. While these cousins are different, but both are beautiful, each earning its place in the summer garden.

There are two main ways to grow them: in outdoor beds (southern locations) or in a container (northern climates Zone 5 and north).  Keep in mind that Crocosmia can be slow to sprout, sometimes taking a number of weeks to do so. Be patient!

–Outdoor Beds
  1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2″-3″ to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. Crocosmia will not survive in soggy settings.
  2. Site your Crocosmia where they’ll receive full sun.
  3. Plant the bulbs (corms, actually) 2″-3″ deep and 8″-10″ apart. Place them with the pointy end facing up.
  4. After planting, water your Crocosmia generously to settle the soil around the corms. Roots and sprouts will form in a few weeks, depending on soil and air temperatures. If temperatures are still cool in your area, wait until they warm before planting. Crocosmia need heat to get them going and can be slow to sprout.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to cut Crocosmia flowers for bouquets. The arched sprays add colorful highlights and varied flower forms to arrangements. Snipping flowers will not hurt your plants.
  6. After blossoming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place, don’t cut it off. The leaves gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year’s show. Water as needed. Leaves may be removed when they yellow.
  7. Your Crocosmia will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring.
–Planters, Pots, Tubs, Urns, etc.
  1. Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; Crocosmia corms must not sit in waterlogged soil or they risk rotting.
  2. Feel free to mix Crocosmia with other plants in the same container. Just keep in mind that all must have the same light and water needs.
  3. Plant the corms 2″-3″ deep and 8″ apart. Place them with the pointy end facing up.
  4. After planting, water your Crocosmia generously to settle the soil around the corms. Roots and sprouts will form in a few weeks, depending on soil and air temperatures. If temperatures are still cool in your area, wait until they warm before planting. Crocosmia need heat to get them going and can be slow to sprout.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to cut Crocosmia flowers for bouquets. The arched sprays add colorful highlights and varied flower forms to arrangements. Snipping flowers will not hurt your plants.
  6. After blossoming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place, don’t cut it off. The leaves gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year’s show. Water as needed. Leaves may be removed when they yellow.
  7. Your Crocosmia will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring.

And last, but not least, it is always important remember that the growing tip of a Crocosmia corm is sensative. Identify this area and try not to touch it. Bumping or bruising it can make the corm less likely to sprout.

Thanks for your question, and if you have any others, please feel free to ask!

 

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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