Montbretia: planting, cultivation and maintenance

Montbretia is a pretty perennial that is making a comeback in the garden.

As easy to grow as it is decorative, it also has a beautiful gladiolus look thanks to its lanceolate leaves.

In summary, what you need to know is:

Name  : crocosmia crocosmiflora
Family  : Iridaceae
Type  Bulbous or perennial

Height  60 to 80 cm
Exhibition  : Sunny and semi-shade
Sol  : Ordinary but well drained

Flowering  June to September

Plantation of Montbretia

Ideally, the montbretia is planted in the fall or spring for flowering the following summer

  • Plant montbretia bulbs at 10 cm deep in the sun and where it’s warm in the summer.
  • Montbretia likes well-drained soil without being too deeply buried.
  • Keep a sufficient spacing of 5 to 10 cm between each plant.
  • It is more aesthetic to plant Montbretia in small groups of five or six.

Approximately every 3 years it is necessary to divide the stumps of the montbretias by separating the bulbs in order to regenerate the foot.

  • The division is preferably done in the summer
  • Use a spade to dig the stump out of the ground.
  • Cut the bulb cleanly with a sharp knife.
  • Replanting the new Montbretia strain in an appropriate location.
  • Water generously

Montbretia seedling

When sowing, prefer potting in September-October.

  • You can leave them outside and under cover throughout the winter.
  • Flowering will only occur 2 to 3 years after sowing.
  • You will proceed to the re-recording in the ground as soon as the first leaves come out.

Pruning, maintenance of montbretias

The montbretia, also called Crocosmia is a bulbous perennial plant that is very easy to care for and generally requires little or no care once it is well established.

  • If necessary, weed around the foot to prevent weeds from taking over the rhizomes.
  • Remove wilted flowers as you go, but leave the foliage until it turns yellow, usually until September.
  • Montbretia needs to see its leaves turn yellow in order to build up the reserves it needs for the next bloom.
  • No need to water because the plant does not need it.

Care of montbretia in winter

Whether in a pot or in the ground, montbretia is frost resistant provided it is neither too strong nor too long (about -5°).

In case of a long and harsh winter, it is imperative to protect the montbretia bulbs.

  • Good mulching is sufficient if the temperature does not fall below -5°.
  • You will have to dig up the bulbs and protect them from frost if you fear a strong frost.
  • Tuck in the pots if your montbretias are grown in pots or tubs.

About montbretia

Native to South Africa, the Montbretia crocosmia has pretty colourful tufts that tend to grow over the years.

The foliage is a pretty green, while the flowers are warm and shimmering, ranging from yellow to red and orange.

Particularly easy to maintain, it resists even light winter frosts, provided that they are neither too strong (-5°) nor too long-lasting over time.

Some varieties even resist down to -15° if the soil is not too wet in winter.

To optimize the life span, bring a special organic flower-bulb fertilizer every year after flowering and regularly divide the bulbs whose multiplication can make the plant invasive.