I just removed dozens and dozens of late summer crocosmia plants as I do each year. I’m not sure where I found my original Crocosmia ‘Lucifer,’ but I remember being charmed by the 20 or so blooms per stem and the attraction by hummingbirds. With its tall iris-like spikes and mid to late season blooms, I decided it would be perfect around the pond attracting butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Little did I realize that three years later, clumps of these showy orange-red blooms would be as thick as thieves crowding out ornamental grasses and other desirable plantings.
Lovely they are and a delight to hummingbirds but they caused my pond garden to look untidy and they had to be moved. So after they bloomed one fall, I pulled them up, oh so easily, and replanted them in a less managed border where they could multiply with abandon.
Little did I know that fateful fall that the corms beneath the ground looked like this:
And I was pulling up this:
That means deep beneath the ground I left a vertical chain of corms that are impossible to remove unless I wade in with a backhoe. Even then, I still wouldn’t get them all. As you can see, new corms are continually produced on short underground stolons rapidly forming new clumps. Each corm stores food for a new plant so it is endless. I would label them invasive in this garden, yet in a large border, they would be glorious. There are over 400 cultivars of crocosmia worldwide in shades of yellows, reds, and oranges. In some places, certain varieties have been labeled invasive: South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Northwest, and warmer climates.
Why do I bother to pull up these persistent plants? I pull them up every year for a master gardener fundraiser. They are divided into bunches of 5 or 6 corms and they completely sell out every year at the annual plant sale. Folks are delighted to start their own beds of crocosmia. I sometimes wonder if I should label the bag with a warning: Named Crocosmia ‘Lucifer,’ because they are the ‘devil’ to remove from a garden.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester