Crocosmia is a dramatic, summer flower, which adds a rich splash of color to any vase. Crocosmia leaves are sword shaped, and when "in bloom," the flowers are brightly branched spikes, which have a great visual appeal for designers.
The word 'crocosmia' is derived from the Greek words 'krokos' meaning saffron and 'osme' meaning smell. It is said that when the flower heads are put into water that they smell of saffron. They are also used to make yellow dye. Crocosmia is originally from Africa, and is a member of the gladiolus and iris family. Crocosmia masoniorum was crossed with Antholyza paniculata (now C. paniculata) by Alan Bloom and produced a sturdy tall plant which was named 'Lucifer' in 1966.
Warmer climates require replanting of crocosmia corms (a type of bulb) each fall or winter. If the climate remains cool year-round, crocosmia will return year after year without the need to replant.
There are several ways to enjoy Crocosmia after it has been harvested. This exotic fresh cut flower is interesting enough to display as a single stem, or mix with an everyday arrangement to give it an exciting twist.
Once the flowers are done blooming around September, Crocosmia pods come in. The flowers must be pollinated by bees in order to form pods. The rows of outstanding pods on tall stems are great for adding texture and focal points in arrangements. They can also be painted for extra pizazz.