Crocosmia Lucifer (Montbretia): Best Guide On How To Plant, Grow & Care

Overview

Crocosmia Lucifer is a gorgeous perennial flower plant that grows from bulb-like structures referred to as corms. It produces beautiful clumps of erect pleated leaves and brilliant wands of fiery scarlet red tubular flowers which bloom for several weeks from mid to late summer. Crocosmia Lucifer is native to South Africa and at maturity; the plant reaches heights of about 4 feet. The plant is relatively drought-tolerant and grows effectively in nearly any well-drained soil.

Plant Profile

Botanical NameLucifer montbretia
Type of PlantBulbs
Plant FamilyCrocosmia
Sunlight RequirementFull Sun, Partial Sun
Bloom TimeSummer (Mid, late)
Water RequirementAverage
Soil TypeChalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil water ContentMoist but well-drained
CharacteristicsCut flowers, plant of merit, showy
Average height60cm-120cm
Spread30cm-60cm
Hardiness5-9
MaintenanceLow
ToleranceDeer, drought, rabbit, salt
AttractsBirds, butterflies, hummingbirds
Garden usesBanks and slopes, beds and boarders, patio and containers

How To plant Crocosmia Lucifer

Where To Plant

Crocosmia Lucifer grows effectively in full or partial sunlight in any location with a fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil. Hot dry sites are usually not a good place to grow Crocosmia Lucifer. When choosing a planting site, avoid areas with cold dry winds. Crocosmia Lucifer being an excellent border plant can be planted at the border where it will provide color and contrast.

How To Plant

Plant the Crocosmia Lucifer corms at least 2 inch deep and space them at least 6 inches apart. When planting in groups, space the Crocosmia at least 18 inches away from other plants. Set the Crocosmia Lucifer corms with the pointy end facing up. Cover it and press the soil down around the roots and water the planting area thoroughly. Then, add a thick, dry, organic mulch to keep the soil moist and protect the plant in winter. When growing in containers, make sure the container has enough drainage holes, then choose a good potting mix and plant your Crocosmia Lucifer to the same depth of 2 inches.

When To Plant

Even with the perfect soil and ideal location, if you don’t plant Crocosmia at the right time, it can fail to grow vibrantly.  Most varieties of Crocosmia don’t do well in weather that is too cold or hot, therefore, it usually ideal to plant your Crocosmia Lucifer in spring because it is between these two periods.

How To Care For Crocosmia Lucifer

Light requirement

Crocosmia Lucifer plant grows vibrantly and multiply rapidly in full sunlight or partial shade. Crocosmia can survive in partial shade especially in hot summer climates where partial shade enables the plant to last longer. However, gorgeous blooms are obtained when planted in full sun, that is, a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.

Soil

Many Crocosmia varieties are not fussy about soil, they thrives in moderately fertile, slightly acidic, humus-rich soil that is moist but well-drained. Avoid planting Crocosmia in low lying areas or soggy sites where soils are generally heavy clay or waterlogged. Clay or waterlogged soil can result in slower growth and poor bloom quality. Also, waterlogged soils can make the Crocosmia plant susceptible to stem and root rot, a plant disease that has potential to cause death of the plant. If your home soil is majorly heavy clay, consider amending the soil with coarse sand with compost/manure or grow the Crocosmia in raised beds.

Water Requirement

Crocosmia requires to be watered regularly during the growing season, from spring to autumn. When growing in containers or in garden bed, water the plant once a week to keep the soil consistently moist or water when the soil feels dry. When watering always be careful to avoid overwatering as this can result in pooled water or muddy condition, a factor that can affect the plant’s overall health and effective growth.

Temperature & Humidity

Crocosmia grows perfectly under room temperature or warm conditions of temperatures 70oF and 75oF. Crocosmia is also very much tolerant to high heat and humidity; it can still grow well in moderately drier climates with mild temperatures. Though too much heat and humidity levels can reduce the plant’s life and flower quality.

Fertilizer

Crocosmia is a hardy plant and will thrive in most moderately fertile soil types including light clay, chalk and sand.  When growing Crocosmia Lucifer in containers or garden, feed the plant (s) during summer or when the shoot begin to show in spring with a high potash slow release fertilizer at least twice a month.

Pruning

Given that Crocosmia is a herbaceous perennial, pruning the plant is not necessary. In late autumn the top growth will disintegrate and die back, leaving bare earth until spring, when new shoots will appear. However, you can remove dead flower heads during the flowering season by cutting back to where the stems meet the leaves to encourage new blooms.

Growing Crocosmia Lucifer In Pots

  1. Choose a medium to large pot with enough drainage holes.
  2. Fill the container with sand amended with manure or perlite, peat moss or vermiculite.
  3. Plant the Crocosmia Lucifer corms at least 2 inch deep and 6 inches apart.
  4. Set the Crocosmia Lucifer corms with the pointy end facing up and then cover the corms with soil.
  5. After planting, water your Crocosmia thoroughly to settle the soil around the corms.
  6. Roots and sprouts will form in few weeks, depending air temperatures. If the temperatures are still cool in your area, wait until they are warm before planting.

Growing Crocosmia Lucifer From Seeds

  1. Start the seeds indoor seven weeks before the expected date of last frost. Fill a seed tray with potting soil and place the seeds 1-inch apart on the surface of the soil.
  2. Sprinkle compost lightly over the seeds and mist well with a plant mister.
  3. Move the seed tray to a room with a temperature of at least 60o Keep the seed tray flat but not soggy.
  4. Move the seed tray outdoors once temperature is between 55oF and 60oF at night, even if they haven’t germinated.
  5. Germination of seeds can take between 27 to 50 days.
  6. Once the seeds have germinated, continue growing the sprouted seeds until they are between 5 and 8 inches tall.
  7. Transplant the seedlings once the above stated height has been attained.

Is Crocosmia Lucifer Poisonous To Dogs?

Crocosmia plant varieties contain terpenoid saponins. These are soap-like compounds that can cause stomach upset in dogs and cats. Ingesting parts of Crocosmia Lucifer can cause your dog to have mild gastronomical upset while ingesting the corms (bulbs)can cause more serious symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach pains and vomiting.

What To Plant With Crocosmia Lucifer

The flamboyant colors of Crocosmia add vivid visual interest to sunny border and they are terrific elements in hot-colored schemes. They radiate beautifully with:

  • Red Hot pokers (Kniphofias)
  • Heleniums (Sneezeweed)
  • Dahlias
  • Echinops (Globe Thistle)
  • Purple Salvias (Sage)
  • Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile)
  • Geraniums (Cranesbills)
  • Aconitum (monkshood)
  • Ornamental grasses

Problems: Diseases & Pests

Problem of pests on Crocosmia Lucifer are unusual and Crocosmia plant diseases are rare, but they do occur. Some of the pest and diseases that can destroy your Crocosmia Lucifer include:

  • Spider mites
  • Bulb/rhizome rot
  • Gladiolus rust
  • Powdery mildew
  • Japanese beetles
  • Leafhoppers
  • Leaf scorch

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Crocosmia An Invasive Plant?

Crocosmia is an invasive perennial plant that grows from underground corms. It can invade most low-growing habitats such as wet grasslands, gardens, hedgerows, pastures, waste areas and roadsides.

Why Are My Crocosmia Leaves Turning Yellow?

Yellowing of leaves in Crocosmia Lucifer is normally a symptom of gladiolus rust a bacteria disease prevalent in low light and high humidity environments. Also, yellowing of leaves can be a result of overwatering.

Best Time To Mulch Crocosmia?

Cover the Crocosmia bed with a 1-inch layer of compost each fall after the plants die back. The compost breaks down over winter and replenishes the nutrients in the soil for the flush of spring and early summer growth.

How Long Does Crocosmia Bulb Take To Grow/Sprout?

Germination takes between 3 to 6 weeks, sometimes taking much longer.

When Should You Plant Crocosmia Bulbs?

Crocosmia corms should be planted in spring after all danger of frost has passed. If conditions are cool or soil temperature is cold, delay the planting until the soil has warmed up.