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Crocosmia is an ornamental plant not from our latitudes.
However, it is so cheerful and attractive that it has long taken a place in the hearts of domestic flower growers.
Its lush greenery, combined with delicate buds, adorns flower beds in the driest areas, where other iris brethren are retreating.
Why you should start growing crocosmia:
- it is unpretentious, easily adapts to different conditions;
- forms a landscape well even without inflorescences;
- pleasing to the eye during flowering;
- do not require careful maintenance;
- almost does not get sick.
If you decide to start crocosmia or, as it is also called, montbrecia, it is worth taking a closer look at some of the features of this plant.
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There are over fifty kinds this perennial. They differ in shoot height (from 60 to 150 cm), leaf shape (linear, xiphoid), color of flowers (spectrum from yellow to bright red).
In wild species, inflorescences are smaller and more muted shades, in breeding ones - brighter and larger.
The flowering time also differs: from mid-summer to the end of September.
The duration and intensity of this process depends on how well the soil and the illumination of the site are selected for their placement.
When breeding crocosmia, it should be borne in mind that it reproduces in the following ways:
The plant quickly conquers large areas. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the seeds or bulbs remain in their intended places.
If you want to avoid self-seeding, remove the flowers as soon as they wilt. In the future, the collected seeds can be used. Plants planted in this way can discard flowers as early as the second year.
Note that the plant is fruitfully pollinated. Therefore, it is better to plant different species at a distance from each other. Of course, if your goal is not to breed a new species.
Baby bulbs have been actively appearing since the end of September. During October and before the first frost, you can start collecting them. Crocosmias bred with bulbs bloom longer and more intensely.
Do you want to see inflorescences already in July? Purchase early flowering varieties: Crocosmia paniculata, Crocosmia masoniorum. Of the late blooming, the most popular are Star of the East, Emily McKenzie, Spitfire.
The bulbs are planted in moist soil (ideally black soil) to a depth of 10-15 cm. Make sure that they were not too dense.
A distance of 10 cm between tubers will be optimal.
You can fill any area with them, but large groups of montbreces look better.
Choosing a place
Since crocosmia is native to the African continent, it is very loves the sun... Therefore, the territory for planting this plant should warm up well in the warm season.
A slight partial shade is also allowed. The more light gets in, the larger and more abundant the color will be.
Pay attention to soil moisture as well. It shouldn't be too wet. Crocosmia survives drought much easier than an abundance of water. This feature should be remembered when watering.
An exception is Crocosmia pottsii. It comes from swampy areas, so it tolerates wet soil better than its relatives. However, a bright sun is also necessary for him.
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In what cases is it necessary to limit the spread of crocosmia?
The distribution should be limited if:
- if the plant is part of a combined flower bed. If it spreads rapidly, it will disrupt the landscape pattern;
- if you want to achieve large and persistent inflorescences. The denser crocosmia grows, the smaller and smaller its flowers. In the most overgrown areas, there can be only greenery.
When should montbrecia be allowed to grow?
If you are planning to use the plant as a garden cover. The greens of the spreading crocosmia look very good even without flowering.
Such a cover is a good alternative to lawn grass.
Even unpretentious plants need attention. Therefore, do not forget about:
- Watering... It should be infrequent (once a week), but abundant. If the summer is rainy, it is enough to loosen the soil after precipitation.
- Top dressing... In the spring, during the rapid growth of crocosmia, nitrogen fertilizers may be needed. Summer - potassium supplements. They are needed for good bud formation. Feeding with a 10% mullein solution is also encouraged.
- Pest control... Enemies of the plant are putin's tick, bear, thrips. The plant is quite resistant to numerous herbal diseases.
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Crocosmias tolerate winter well on the ground. But, if in your area there are traditionally severe frosts, it is better to cover the plant indoors.
To do this, in late autumn, you should dig up the whole crocosmia, leaving an impressive part of the soil at the roots. Separate into bulbs with this method of storing it not worth it... The prepared plant is planted in a pot or goes down to the basement, where it is stored until early spring.
If there is no basement, you can use dry storage... For him, crocosmia should be dug up, divided into separate bulbs and the top part (stem and leaves) removed, leaving about 5-7 cm.
After that, the material is placed in boxes or paper bags, sprinkled with sawdust, dry peat. It is important that with this storage method the tubers are dry, but not overdried, the temperature in the room is cool (up to 10 ° C).
However, if possible, it is better to leave crocosmia to winter on the ground. So it will begin to grow earlier, the flowers will be larger, and the plant itself is stronger.
The flower beds should be sheltered from frost as late as possible, and opened in early spring, when the most severe frosts are already behind. As a shelter, you can use dry leaves, shavings, straw, agrofibre.
Wintering of plants also depends on their type.... For example, Crocosmia masoniorum, Crocosmia Lucifer are hardy enough. And Star of the East for the winter is better to dig. This species does not tolerate cold well.
Experienced gardeners also recommend combine different storage methods... So, if part of the crocosmia freezes on the ground, you can always restore the population from the bulbs stored indoors.
Crocosmia is an ideal plant for a beginner grower. Even with minimal care, it will delight the breeder with juicy greens, forgive flaws and miscalculations in watering and feeding.
With proper care, the reward is a luxurious flower garden and a subtle saffron scent that radiates from the cut bouquet throughout the home.