Family: Iridaceae
Popular name: Montbretia

Origin: South Africa

Flower colour: orange/red

Flowering period: August – September

Average plant height: 60 – 90 cm

Planting depth to base of bulbs: 5 cm

Spacing between bulbs: 10 cm

Type of bulb: corm

Light requirements: needs great amount of light (AM sun)

Landscape uses: border, beds, perennial garden

Crocosmia produces several flowers per spike. There are small-flowering and large-flowering varieties. The leaves are sword-shaped. Crocosmia is better known as Montbretia. If planted in autumn, covering is necessary for at least the first year. After a year they are fairly winter hardy.

Crocosmias are very effective border plants, both for the perennial plant border as well as a border planted in annuals and other summer-flowering bulbous, cormous and tuberous plants. Another place to put them is next to a somewhat sombre conifer border. The colours provided by a large clump of crocosmias will definitely enliven this area of the garden. Crocosmias also serve very well as cut flowers and are raised for this purpose by professional growers.


The yellow, orange and red colours of Crocosmias are at their loveliest next to blue-flowering plants such as Agapanthus, Aconitum (Monkshood), Salvia nemorosa, Aster amellus, Aster novi-belgii, Erigeron ’Dunkelste Aller’, Echinops ritro (Globe thistle), and Campanula lactiflora.

Principal varieties

Crocosmia crocosmiiflora (Montbretia) are divided in:

Small-flowered varieties – (e.g.) 

  • ‘Meteor’ – yellow tinged with orange.
  • ‘Red King’ – red with orange-yellow center.

Large-flowered varieties – (e.g.) 

  • ‘Emily McKenzie’ – orange.
  • Crocosmia masonorum ‘Lucifer’ – tomato red.