Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

crocosmiaI 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:

 

crocosmia corm

Wikipedia

And I was pulling up this:

crocosmia corm
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 mastercrocosmia 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

5 thoughts on “Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

  1. I wish you could save some for me because I love them. I don’t have to worry about thinning them–sadly, the voles have taken care of the ones I planted this year.

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  2. Like Robin Hood, save some for me as well. They don’t seem to have an invasion problem in my garden. I do have invasion problems with day lilies, Russian Olive, to name a few.

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  3. I saw these for sale, in packs of 10 corms, bought 2 packs and planted them in my perennial bed. Now I read this and I wonder what will happen. Maybe in the fall I will pull up the plants as described and let the subsoil corms to the sub-20s of winter.
    But I look forward to the blooms and the hummers that will visit.

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