Beedazzled Gardens Blog

Gardening Ruminations and Germination

Hummingbird Attractant to the Coastal Garden

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' at Lakewold Garden Photo taken by Dawn Hummel 05/2009

If you are looking for bright, summer-blooming colorful flowers look no further than Croscosmia. They grow easily in flower gardens, containers and are ideal for cut flowers. Native to South Africa, Crocosmia are members of the Iris family and are hardy in zones 5-8. Hummingbirds are attracted to the tubular-shaped flowers. Colors include red, yellow, orange‐yellow, and orange with splotches floating above green sword-like foliage. Crocosmia bloom from July‐October. And most importantly, in coastal areas they are deer resistant! While you will find them in the bulb section of garden centers, Crocosmia are really grown from corms – similar to gladiolas. The corms are best planted in fall for blooms the following summer.

How to Grow Crocosmia
Crocosmia are really easy to grow. Grow them in large groupings for a beautiful, eye-catching statement in your garden. They flower best in full sun. Plant in rich, loose garden soil. If the soil is heavy or doesn’t drain well, mix in a generous amount of sand – which is not hard to find on the peninsula. Plant corms four to five inches deep and approximately four inches apart. Water well during planting if the soil is dry. Fertilizer is really not needed for this particular plant. If growing Crocosmia in containers, select a large, deep pot with drainage holes and keep it well watered during summer months. The plants typically grow two to four feet tall in one season. After four years, dig up and divide the corms in fall. Replant corms, giving them more space to grow big and beautiful blooms next year. The corms can “dig” their way down in the soil over time. The mother bulbs can sport multiple babies layered one on top of one another. You can split these up and replant to expand your flower garden bed. They will multiply prolifically and rapidly – akin to rabbits – so make sure when you plant them you really want them in a desired location. After the plants have died back in the fall, cut the browning foliage and remove to the ground. In cold areas, add a generous amount of mulch to protect the corms from freezing. You do not need to dig crocosmia for storage in winter – which is great if you have a summer cottage and do not get to the coast on a regular basis.

Popular Crocosmia Coastal Varieties

Crocosmia ‘Emily McKenzie’
Gorgeous deep orange blossoms marked with maroon centers adds an exotic touch to the mixed perennial border. 24” tall x 12″-24″ wide.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’
Brilliant red flowers. A Greek name meaning Saffron-scented (attributed to fragrance given off when dried flowers are put in water). 24″-36″ tall x 12″-24″ wide.

Crocosmia ‘Norwich Canary’
Profuse apricot-yellow flowers. Perfect for middle of the border and an excellent selection for the cutting garden. 24″ tall x 12″-24″ wide.

Sources in the Ocean Park, Washington Area
You can find crocosmia at the following independent garden retailers on the peninsula:

The Planter Box
Crocosmia corms bagged for $4.99.
12706 Pacific Way Long Beach, WA
360.642.4450

Basket Case Greenhouse
Potted containers start at $9.99
12106 Sandridge Rd Long Beach, WA
360.642.8860

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Author: beedazzled

BeeDazzled Gardens creates specialized perennial beds and containers that attract beneficial insects, birds, and butterflies.

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