Crocosmia Lucifer, thriving despite my misplaced attempts to eradicate.
Crocosmia Lucifer in our garden
Last Summer, hmm, its now Autumn, I mean the Summer of 2014, the Crocosmia put on a very poor show.
I had a go at digging up the corms, as I was keen to plant the Miscanthus which you now see growing in front of the Crocosmia.
The roots of the apple tree made it impossible for me to get to the corms, so I managed to plant the Miscanthus Red Chief in front of the Crocosmia.
I really did not want to see these large strappy leaves of Lucifer growing behind the Miscanthus, so, from early May this year as the Crocosmia leaves started to show, I hacked them back to ground level. No sooner than I had done this, fresh leaves appeared.
I continued with my assault on this innocent plant who’s only guilt was to not reach the standard I had placed on it. I attacked it in this manner time and time again until mid June, when I finally declared it the winner.
I honestly cannot believe that by the third week of July not only was it blooming, it was spectacular.
Compared to the poor performance of 2014, I can only imagine that this plant, being under such threat was determined to give of its best for the last time, well its not its last time and no matter the performance of next year, Crocosmia Lucifer is here to stay.
Crocosmia Lucifer (montbretia) as a stand alone plant can be striking with their strappy arching sword shaped leaves and their vivid red blooms. I prefer to see this perennial in the mixed border, take care with placing though, as it can be overpowering in the wrong position.
Lucifer is reported to be the earliest Crocosmia to flower — mid July until the end of August.
In Aberdeen we never had success with the yellow forms of Crocosmia, simply not hardy enough. Lucifer on the other hand thrived, so take it from me, if its happy enough in the North East of Scotland you can rest assured it will make itself at home in any other part of the country, I cant swear to Braemar though.
Every three years or so the plant corms require dividing, I like to do this in Autumn whilst you still have the leaves to guide you. You will notice that the corms have become tiered, discard the largest ones at the bottom and replant the younger ones above, three to four inches deep.
As far as I am concerned Cocosmia is not one of those plants which manage to retain some merit for the Winter border, just cut them back when the leaves turn brown, before they get to the slimy stage.
Hardiness — fully hardy in the UK
Position — full sun/partial shade
Height — 4ft/120cm
Soil — any reasonable free draining soil
Purdee also enjoys sharing this position with the Miscanthus and the Crocosmia. No longer a hunter due to advancing years, she lies there chattering at the birds in a complaining manner.