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Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora
These cormous perennials have leafless, arching, branched
stems (up to 4 feet in length) with two-ranked “combs” of
brightly colored, tubular blooms (up to 2 inches in length) with
star-shaped “faces” at their ends. Leaves, which fan from the
bases of the plants and are often included in flower bunches,
are narrow (1⁄4 inch to 1 inch wide), sword-shaped and “pleated”
Crocosmias’ colors range from crimson/scarlet to red-orange to
orange to yellow.
With proper care
from farm to florist, Crocosmias can provide seven to 14
days of vase life at the consumer level; however, individual
blossom drop will occur about three days after flower opening.
variety, as well as sourcing both domestic and foreign growers,
flowering Crocosmias can be found year-round. Peak
season, however, is April/May through October/November.
Crocosmia seed pods, generally green or reddish-brown, are
available through the December holiday season.
Carefully remove Crocosmias from packaging, and remove
any bindings, being cautious to avoid damaging any open
blossoms. Cut at least 1 inch from the bottoms of the stems with
a sharp knife or pruner; immediately dip or place the stem ends
into a hydration solution; then place the flowers into a clean
container partially filled with properly mixed, lukewarm (100 F
to 110 F) flower-food solution.
Crocosmias in a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F.
are moderately sensitive to ethylene gas, so make sure your
flowers are treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the farm
level or during transportation. Ethylene will cause the delicate
florets to shrivel and fall prematurely.
WATER Check the flower-food
solution level daily, and replenish as needed. Recut the stems
every two or three days.
WHEN TO BUY Purchase
Crocosmias when a few of the lower-most blooms are open and
possibly even shriveled and fallen off. If cut too tight,
flowers may not open; on the other hand, open blossoms can be
damaged easily during transportation.
can mold quickly without plenty of air circulation, so remove
any packing sleeves immediately upon the flowers’ arrival.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
The genus name “Crocosmia” comes from the Greek words
“krokos” (saffron) and “osme” (smell). Dried
Crocosmia flowers, especially when placed in warm
water, have a strong saffron smell. The common name
“montbretia” is an homage to Antoine François Ernest
Conquebert de Montbret (1781-1801), one of the botanists
accompanying Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt from 1798 to 1801,
where he died.
FAMILY Members of the Iridaceae (Iris) family,
Crocosmias are closely related to Crocuses,
Freesias, Gladioli, Irises, Ixias
HOME SWEET HOME
Crocosmias are native to South Africa.
life after life
flowers and foliage can be air-dried by simply hanging small
bunches of opening flowers upside down in a warm, dry location
for several days. Circulating air is a must to prevent
molding. These flowers should retain their color well, and the
narrow foliage will add extra interest and texture to your
seed pods, which occur after flowering is finished, are
trendy, textural botanicals. They are easily made appealing to
the youth market by spray-painting them in an array of bright
and fashion-forward colors.
Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network® ,
Dictionary of Plant Names, by Allen J. Coombes
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William