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Crocosmia

Crocosmia (kroh-koz-mee-uh); Copper-Tip. Iris Family, (Iridaceae). Tender, cormous plants from South Africa. Sword-shaped leaves grow directly from the corm, with a slender, branching flower spike appearing in late summer. Crocosmias give bright spots of color in the late-summer garden and are particularly suitable for cutting. Closely related to gladiolus, they should be handled in the same way: plant out the corms in spring in sunny, well-drained soil, and can be lifted and the corms stored in peat for the winter.

Crocosmia performs in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil, that does not become waterlogged. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. Its fleshy roots (corms) should be planted in spring 2 to 4 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart. Crocosmia has a tendency to quickly grow and overcrowd itself, and may need dividing every 2 to 3 years. Alternatively, offsets of the original plant may be lifted and moved.

Plants are generally only winter hardy to 0 F. In zones 1 through 4 (and probably 5 and 6), corms should be lifted and stored indoors over the winter, much like gladiolus, cannas or dahlias (do not allow them to dry out completely). In zones 5 through 7, deep winter mulch will help to protect the roots.

Attributes: Border plants, Container, Cut flowers (frequently used in commercial floral arrangements), Mass planting. Attracts hummingbirds.

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