Crocosmia Bulbs Care: How To Grow Montbretia Lucifer Plant

Crocosmia [Kroh-KOZ-mee-uh] is a flowering plant genus a part of the Iris family (Iridaceae).

This plant is native to the Eastern and Southern Africa’s grasslands, from Sudan to South Africa.

Flowering Crocosmia Bulbs aka Montbretia Lucifer Plant

Popular varieties include Crocosmia Lucifer and Crocosmia x Crocosmiiflora.

The common names for Crocosmia include:

  • Falling Stars
  • Copper Tips
  • Montbretia

Crocosmia Bulbs Plant Care

Size & Growth

This plant produces 8 – 12 stems, ranging in heights of 2′ – 4′ feet tall.

The leaves are shaped like swords (simliar to their relatives the Gladiolus), and each stem produces hundreds of tiny Crocosmia flowers.

Flowering and Fragrance

The Montbretia Lucifer Plant sprouts tube-shaped, brilliantly colored blooms on arching stems.

Each flower is about 2” inches wide and has a smell of saffron.

The scent of the flowers is enhanced if steeped in water.

The bloom time of the flowers is early fall and late summer.

The plant mostly produces red flowers, but the colors may range from yellow to bright orange.

Light & Temperature

Being a South African native, the Montbretia loves to be in the full sun, but also tolerates partial shade.

When growing in full shade, it might produce stunning foliage but will not flower.

It is best, however, to provide it some shade when growing in hotter areas.

It is a winter-hardy plant and also tolerates mild winter frost.

However, it must not be placed in a temperature lower than 23° degrees Fahrenheit (-5° C).

Some varieties of the Copper Tips are able to resist 5° degrees Fahrenheit (-15° C) in well-draining soil.

The USDA hardiness zones of this plant are 5 – 9.

Watering and Feeding

The Falling Stars is a drought-tolerant plant and doesn’t have high watering needs.

Water it more during the late summer season when the weather is too dry.

If the plant stays dry for a long duration, the leaves start turning brown.

Therefore, make sure to lightly water the plant regularly, especially if there are insufficient rainfalls.

Feed it with all-purpose fertilizer during the early spring season when the plant is growing.

Soil & Transplanting

This plant grows well in all soil types, as long as it is rich in nutrients.

It produces flowers properly in heavy clay as well.

However, it’s recommended to grow this plant in well-draining, humus-rich soil.

Add in some grit or sand in heavy soils to enhance drainage and prevent disease or rot.

Grooming and Maintenance

Copper Tips require minimal care to grow healthy.

Make sure to plant it in a location where it can enjoy the full sun.

Add some mulch around the plant during the winter season to keep it warm.

Remove weeds regularly to protect and free up rhizomes.

Remove any wilting stems or flowers for optimal growth.

However, avoid removing the leaves until they turn yellow.

Water lightly but regular during dry seasons.

How to Propagate Montbretia Lucifer Plant

Propagation is done using Crocosmia bulbs during early fall or early spring to enjoy the flowers in the summer season.

Make sure to plant the bulbs about 4” inches deep and under the full sun, in well-draining soil.

  • When planting with other plants, there must be 2” – 4” inches of space between them for optimal growth.
  • The rhizomes must not be deeply planted in the soil.
  • Allow it to stick out to get proper sun.
  • Separate the bulbs and branches every three years during the summer season.
  • Remove the corm from the ground using a spade.
  • Use a sharp knife to slice it in half before planting it in its new location.
  • Abundantly water till the new growth emerges, then reduce the amount of water.

Montbretia Lucifer Plant Pest or Diseases

Plant Crocosmia doesn’t face severe pest problems.

It is not even bothered by snails and slugs, but it is best to be on a lookout for thrips and spider mites.

Use a strong spray of water to knock off these pests, and utilize insecticidal soap in case of severe infestation.

Not many diseases affect this plant, but it is at risk of gladiolus rust and rhizome or bulb rotting.

Gladiolus rust mostly attacks gladiolus, but occasionally this plant gets infected too.

When infected, the leaves of the plant will show brownish-yellow or blackish-brown spores.

Make sure to water the plant at ground level to protect the leaves.

Rotting of rhizome or bulb is a more severe threat to this plant which occurs when growing in poorly drained soil.

Avoid this problem by enhancing the drainage of the soil using sad or grit.

Crocosmia Uses

The striking foliage and beautiful Crocosmia flower colors make it a stunning addition in flowering gardens, tropical style gardens, and any other planting schemes.

This plant makes excellent cut flowers to use as indoor arrangements.

It also attracts hummingbirds and bees, making the garden livelier.

The yellow-colored dye may be taken from the flowers to be used as a substitute for saffron.