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Crocosmia

Posted by donnabaskets 7b,MS (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 31, 08 at 18:50

I just got back from a vacation in Seattle, Washington (FALL like weather in July! Heaven!). Everywhere I went I saw luxuriant stands of crocosmia. Will somebody please tell me what is the secret? I have tried before with complete failure. This year, I planted six or eight corms. Two came up. One has died and the other is getting ready to bloom. They are in well amended, fertile soil with full sun until about 2:00 p.m and dappled shade thereafter. They get average moisture.
I want to try again if I have a chance of success. Are there some varieties better than others? I did notice the ones in Seattle all seemed to be the same kind: Lucifer, I presume. "Montbretias" are listed in Felder Rushings "Passalong Plants" so I would think they ought to be reasonably easy here!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Crocosmia

You noticed the climate of the pacific northwest was different from the Midwest. Plants notice the difference too. When we lived on the coast Crocosmia was an invasive we had to dig out from taking over. Here in the heat of the wine country they just don't establish and thrive. Al


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RE: Crocosmia

A possible solution - planting into gritty soil beside a natural pond where the substrate stays damp-ish.

I'm another 'Yikes! They're weeds!' person. I remember excavating down a foot or more to remove those string-of-beads corms and saying naughty words as the tide of foliage marched over plants I much preferred. Fortunately, it wasn't my garden. Unfortunately, my client liked the darned things so control was very very circumspect.

Good luck with your next attempt.


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RE: Crocosmia

My mother-in-law had a front garden bed 10 by 10 foot that I dug all the soil out a foot deep and strained it through a half inch mesh hardware cloth to get those corms from the roots so I could replant the bed. Al


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RE: Crocosmia

My mother-in-law had a front garden bed 10 by 10 foot that I dug all the soil out a foot deep and strained it through a half inch mesh hardware cloth to get those corms from the roots so I could replant the bed.

Yikes!...that sounds almost as bad as Star-of-Bethlehem: Ornithogalum umbellatum. It isn't even possible to clean the soil of those bulbs as some of them are as small as the lead in a pencil, yet will grow and multiply over and over...sorry to go off on a rant.

I did read where one variety of Crocosmia was so prolific, that it needed to be lifted and divided yearly...what a pain. Sorry...can't find the site now.

I planted 2 small Lucifer 'in' a bed this season. They are blooming now, but I'm wondering if I should maybe move them somewhere where I don't care how much they grow and do their thing. I didn't give them much grow room allowance in the present location.

Sue


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RE: Crocosmia

Al: there are ALWAYS the ones that hide out under the tree roots. 'They'll be back' - for several years thereafter.

chemocurl: could we interest you in a nice line of Agapanthus, Oxalis, or Ixias... ;-( Yet another bunch of nit-picking nuisance flowers that are sooooooo sweet - above ground.)

OTOH - a big swathe of Crocosmia does look glorious, regardless of the colour. Hope donnabaskets has the success she's looking for.


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RE: Crocosmia

chemocurl: could we interest you in a nice line of Agapanthus, Oxalis, or Ixias.
They are not hardy here...Whoo-Hoo! If something is not hardy that I can plant and just forget, it usually isn't worth my time and energy.


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RE: Crocosmia

Well, thanks folks! I appreciate all the conversation. Isn't it just the way it always is. We want what we can't have, and want to be rid of what we do :)

I am going to try again. I highly doubt that I will have invasiveness issues, considering how much trouble I am having getting anything to grow. I was checking out Plant Delights website, and think I will try some of their varieties next time, since they are in a similar climate to mine. Will let you know.


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RE: Crocosmia

I finally found success with Crocosmia when I planted a clump of them rather than single bulbs. I got them from a plant swap. The small clump quickly became a large clump. Because my conditions are not ideal, they stay in bounds pretty well. They are a favorite (but I imagine if I ever want to be rid of them, it will be next to impossible).

Kathy


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RE: Crocosmia

Even the varieties I've tried from Plant Delights (some, like 'Star of Bethlehem', several times) become martyrs to red spider mite here for me every summer. They seem to be magnets for this pest, which affects few other plants in my garden. I saw great clumps of 'Lucifer' blooming profusely while I was on vacation in the North Carolina mountains a few weeks ago, but the best I've ever managed is one year of bloom from any of them. Other South African bulbs, including several gladiolus relatives, do fine here, so I have no explanation other than a possible aversion to our coastal heat and humidity.


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RE: Crocosmia

Thanks, Bubba, it's always good to hear from someone in the same zone. I was eyeing the PDN selection so I really appreciate your experience.
I visited a friend in town this week who has a fairly good size clump of some kind of crocosmias growing in her yard. They've been there for years, but have never bloomed. I suspect they're getting too much shade. I wonder if I might have success with them? I may try them (especially since they're free), following some of the above location suggestions...


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RE: Crocosmia

Just want to add my two cents from my experience. I have always loved Crocosmia, especially Lucifer. My cousin in England tells me that there they are considered an invasive, noxious weed, growing like a wildflower in the meadows. But the Brits also have them growing in their gardens too. My own experience has been that each corm has to reach a level of maturity before it will bloom, though I don't know if they bloom more than one year or not. They seem to always to be in my way when I am digging for other plants, and I am always finding babies. Each corm must reproduce prolifically since I find them from the size of peas to the older ones the size of a quarter or so in diameter which will bloom. Since there always LOTS LOTS more foliage than there are bloom stalks, this is my theory - that each corm has to reach a certain size before it can bloom but in the meantime it is madly reproducing new babies. No scientific fact to back this up, just years of observation. I still have them in the garden and wouldn't be without them.
Photobucket


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RE: Crocosmia

Here in the acid, sandy soil of S. Jersey my experience has been different. My clump of 'Diablo' has stayed in the same spot for 10 years and hardly increased. In Spring and Fall there may be some direct sunlight but filtered shade is on them the rest of the growing season.


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RE: Crocosmia

Bogturtle, do yours bloom well without full sun most of the growing season?

What variety do you have?

Looking for something that will survive on good sunlight before trees leaf out in Spring and after leaf drop in Fall with only filtered light in between.

Believe it or not I'm working with a crossed list of plants that deer/rabbits and SLUGS don't seem to like as first choice.

Crocosimia is on the multiple needs list and at least it has the added benefit of attracting whatever Hummingbirds are left in late Summer.

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience with blooms in less than full sun conditions.


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RE: Crocosmia

LOL sorry for having a chuckle but the crocosmia that all are refering to are the variety known as crocosmia x.crocosmiiflora and they are considered a weed in many countrys!! We have the NCCPG National Collection of Crocosmia here in England holding 300+ varietys of them, some very very rare and some very common.
They like to be kept damp and well drained in a fertile soil but not wet in the winter as they may rot. We fertilize once in the spring with a tomato fertilizer (any one that has a higher potash content) once they break dormancy.
If any one has any questions just send me an e-mail and I'll get back to ya asap...

Lauri


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RE: Crocosmia

Donna,

I don't know if you are still considering Crocosmia since this thread was started in July, but hopefully my experience is helpful since we are in similar SE hot and humid climates. I've grown C. 'Jenny Bloom' quite easily in part shade to part sun in well-drained soil. This cultivar is the best I've tried because it's not as tall as some other cultivars so it flops less and as PDN states, it doesn't crowd as quickly as say C. 'Lucifer'. I just divided my original clump after 6-7 years.

I've had a hard time establishing some such as C. 'Star of the East' and C. 'Warlhead', but I think I succeeded finally with the latter. I'll know for sure if it appears next Spring.

My advise: Try planting as early as you can in Spring. Give them well-drained soil, a little bit of shade, and make sure that you water regularly the first summer. They do not like the heat until they are established and this takes some time, the better part of the summer in my experience. Once they establish though, they are a breeze and steadily increase in numbers.


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RE: Crocosmia

Thanks, spazzycat. I can't believe this thread is still going, but I guess that's a tribute to the beauty of crocosmia and everyone's efforts to get them right.
As it happens, the six or eight Star of the East corms I planted in the spring eventually came up, long after I had given up. I even got a couple of bloom stalks in the late summer to early fall. I had placed them in a bed that gets afternoon shade and plenty of moisture, not by design, but because that's the bed the color would look best in. :)
I am somewhat encouraged by your analysis. We'll see what happens next year! (Gardening, like baseball: There's always next year to start fresh :)


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RE: Crocosmia

I'm in a colder zone than you donnabaskets, but the easiest one to grow around here (southern Ontario Canada) is Lucifer. The others are mostly trial and error to see which are hardy. Spazzycat's advice about growing conditions is good. I would add that crocosmia corms get bigger each year until they mature and the bigger ones are both hardier in winter and bloom the best. Mine also are prone to spider mimtes in a dry summer, as someone else mentioned. No flower is perfect. I like Lucifer in my bold-colour garden for its bright orange-red flowers and time of bloom.


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