Flowers

Crocosmia Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Coppertips”

Read our guide to Crocosmia for everything you’ll ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for "Coppertips"

Are you looking for an alluring bloomer to keep you company with its fabulous flowers throughout the summer months? Look no further! We know that it can be a bit difficult to pick your next lifetime companion, but this is what are we here for. Believe us, Crocosmia a.k.a. Coppertips or Montbretia is a must-have for every gardener that loves easy-going flowering plants!

Crocosmia plants are very popular ornamentals worldwide due to their showy flowers and generous warm colour palette. These buddies come with more than 400 gorgeous varieties and hybrids to fill your plant family with. The most common cultivars are ‘Bright Eyes’, “Emberglow’, ‘John Boots’, ‘Limpopo’, ‘Lucifer’, with C. × crocosmiiflora ‘Buttercup’, ‘Carmin Brilliant’, ‘Columbus’, ‘Meteore’, and ‘Honey Angels’.

Keep reading our Crocosmia guide if you want to know more interesting facts about these plants!

About Crocosmia

  • Several Crocosmia cultivars have gained the well-known Award of Garden Merit. These include ‘Hellfire’, ‘Lucifer’, C. masoniorum, ‘Paul’s Best Yellow’, ‘Severn Sunrise’, C. × crocosmiiflora ‘Babylon’, and C. × crocosmiiflora ‘Star of the East’.
  • Their genus name ”Crocosmia” comes from the words “krokos” and “osme” which mean “saffron” and “odor” in Greek. This name refers to the dried leaves of these plants that emit a strong, saffron-like fragrance when they get in contact with hot water.
  • Coppertips are native to some regions of eastern and southern Africa, ranging from Sudan to South Africa. These plants grow mostly in grassland areas.
  • Crocosmia species provide colour and contrast as border plants, especially if you plant them in groups. They make for wonderful potted specimens and will also look fantastic as cut flowers for up to two weeks in a vase.
  • Their exquisite flowers are a common attraction to various species of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. They also charm hummingbirds, sunbirds, and other species of pollinators that are an important part of the ecosystem.
  • Crocosmia plants can be pretty toxic to animals or humans if consumed in large quantities. For safety purposes, keep these plants in a place where your kids or pets cannot reach and eat them.
  • Coppertips make for eye-catching companions to many other species of plants. Some of these are African Lily, Asters, Coneflower, Dahlia, Euphorbia, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Hemerocallis ‘Stafford’, Japanese Blood Grass, Kniphofia, Moor Grass, PurpleFountain Grass, Russian Sage, Tall Verbena, and Yarrow.
Crocosmia
Crocosmia

Crocosmia Features: An Overview

  • These plants belong to the Iridaceae family that consists of many popular genera of flowering plants. They share this family with plants like Crocus, Dietes, Freesia, Gladiolus, Iris, Nemastylis, or Thereianthus.
  • Depending on the cultivar, Crocosmia plants can be either evergreen or deciduous perennials. They grow from basal underground corms and can reach from 2 to 4 feet (60-120 cm) in height and 1 to 2 feet (30-60 cm) in diameter.
  • Their foliage contains long, slender, sword-shaped, and green leaves that appear alternately arranged on thick, upright, greenish stems. The leaves have parallel venations and entire margins.
  • Coppertips generally bloom throughout the summer months. During this period, they show off with colorful cyme or raceme inflorescences of 4-20 elegant blossoms.
  • Their large, six-petaled, and star-shaped flowers can exhibit various vibrant shades of yellow, orange, red, and pink. Once the blooming period has ended, the plants replace their flowers with fruit capsules that contain small, blackish, round seeds.

Growing Crocosmia

Luckily, Crocosmia plants are among those ornamental flowers that you do not have to think about much once you plant them in their new home. In fact, these stunning companions can basically take care of themselves with minimal effort on your part. As long as you provide them with environmental conditions that mimic their natural habitat, it will be almost impossible to hurt these low-demanding plants.

In general, your Coppertips will grow at their best if you are growing them under full sunlight exposure. These plants will become somewhat floppy in shaded locations. However, in regions with hot summer months, they will actually benefit from some afternoon shade.

Coppertips tend to strain towards the sun and, after a while, they will begin to grow a bit crooked. In case you notice this, you can dig your plants out of the soil then relocate them for optimal results. If you want to keep them indoors in pots, we recommend you rotate their containers occasionally to ensure straight growth.

When it comes to temperatures, Crocosmia plants are hardy in the USDA zones 5 to 9. While these flowers can withstand high heat and humidity, they will not do so well in drier climates with mild temperatures. If you live in a much cooler area, it is wise to grow your plants in pots and bring them inside in the fall.

Coppertips are typically pest- and disease-free when they are growing in proper conditions. Still, if your Coppertips experience poor soil drainage, they will become prone to pest infestations. The most common intruders that may bother your flowers are spider mites, especially during the dry summer months. You can get rid of these pests by misting your plants regularly until you stop to notice their presence.

Planting Crocosmia

Knowing how and when to plant Crocosmia species is vital for them to grow healthy and happy. As a general rule, you must plant your flowers in spring, but only after all danger of frost has passed. If you want to plant them in groups of 12 or more, make sure you space each specimen at 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm) apart from the other ones. Near other species, we suggest you plant them at 18 to 24 inches (45-60) away.

In terms of growing medium, Coppertips can do just fine in a wide variety of soils. However, it is mandatory to plant your flowers in a fertile, hummus-rich substrate that comes along with very sharp drainage. If your garden soil is on the heavy clay side, you should grow your plants in pots or raised beds. For potted specimens, choose containers that have one or more drainage holes at the bottom.

Because Crocosmia plants can perform well in almost any type of soil, they do not usually require supplemental fertilizing. In fact, when these flowers receive too many nutrients, their foliage will overgrow at the expense of the bloomings.

During their flowering season, you can remove all spent blooms to make room for new, healthy ones to flourish. Once this period has ended, keep the leaves of your Coppertips so that the plants can give enough energy to the bulbs for the next year’s blooming. If some of the leaves begin to wither, however, you can simply cut their foliage back almost to ground level.

15 Bulbs Crocosmia, From Amazon

Watering Crocosmia

Crocosmia plants need average moisture to grow at their best and bloom sporadically. If you water your beloved flowers regularly, they will not hesitate to show their infinite appreciation. Still, too much water can affect the overall health of your plants and may also result in root rot.

The most common mistake among gardeners when it comes to the watering routine of Coppertips is usually over-watering. To avoid this unpleasant experience, make sure you always check their growing medium before watering them again. When the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch, you can safely provide your Coppertips with a nice, deep drink.

During the winter months, the growing conditions of Crocosmia plants tend to be a bit chaotic, and even a touch of water can affect their wellbeing. To avoid this and to help your plants to retain enough moisture by adding a thick, dry organic mulch to the soil in autumn.

Propagating Crocosmia

Did someone from your family or group of friends, by chance, saw your superb Crocosmia plants and want some of them for themselves? Or, maybe, you just want to enrich your collection with more of these beauties? Say no more! Whether or not you have much experience in gardening, you can propagate Crocosmia plants through division or seeds very fast and easily.

If you want to improve your chances of success, we recommend you propagate your Crocosmia plants through division. However, your plants will respond well to this method only if they are mature and settled in their growing medium.

Crocosmia Lucifer
Crocosmia Lucifer

In spring, dig your flowers out of the soil, then cut their roots in two or three sections using a sharp garden tool. After this process, you can just transplant the tiny specimens in their permanent spots. You can also remove the small offsets from their bulbs with bare hands and plant them wherever you feel like it.

To propagate your Coppertips by seeds, you must first wait for the autumn to show its presence. During this season, you can collect the seeds from capsules and save them until next spring. Once the last sign of frost has passed, soak the seeds in water for a week or so before sowing, then plant them directly in the ground in sandy loam soil. Germination will usually occur in one or two months.

In Conclusion

Now that you know everything about growing and caring for Crocosmia plants, all you have to do next is deciding which cultivar is the perfect option for you! Especially when they are so easy to grow and care for. If you provide them with lots of sunlight, well-draining soil, and regular watering, you will encounter no unexpected surprises along the way. Let us know how your Crocosmia plants settle in.

Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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