Common Names: Copper Tip, Falling Star, Montbretia, Antholyza, Curtonus. Life Cycle: Half hardy bulb commonly grown as a hardy annual by gardeners. Height: 24 to 72 inches (60 to 180 cm). Native: South Africa.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10. As a perennial in zones 7 to 10. Flowers: Summer. Flower Details: Red, orange, pink, apricot. Sub-opposite flowers along a stem. Raceme-like. Foliage: Cauline leaves. Parallel veined.
Sow Outside: cover seeds. Autumn or early spring. Bulbotuber (corm): 5 to 6 inches (12 to 15cm); Autumn in warm areas (as a perennial); late spring in cool areas as an annual. Spacing: 6 to 10 inches (15 to 30 cm). Sow Inside: Germination time: one to three months. Temperature 60°F (15°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors in late spring, well after the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage. Feed in summer. Regular watering in dry periods. Requires to be divided every 3 or 4 years. Treat as an annual in cooler areas by bringing bulbotubers (corms) indoors over the winter. Propagate: dividing bulbotubers.
Family: Iridaceae. Miscellaneous: Seed grown Crocosmia take at least two years to bear flowers.
How to Grow Montbretia, Copper Tip, and other Crocosmia species
It is perhaps easiest to grow Crocosmia from corms; these should be planted at about 10 cm apart at a depth of between 10 and 15 cm.
If growing from seeds then they should be sown in the spring, just cover the seeds with topsoil.
It may be easier to start off indoors from seeds. They should be started off about 7 weeks before due to be put out after the last frost of the spring, but bear in mind that they can take from one to three months to germinate at about 15 degrees Centigrade.
Once growing nicely the Crocosmia seedlings can be transplanted into a sunny or partially shaded area of the garden. Once established the plants should be divided every three years.
Caring for Crocosmia in the Garden
If you live in a very cold area then the corms of Crocosmia should be brought indoors in the winter and stored in a cool place.
It usually takes about two years until the Montbretia plant will bear flowers.