Synonyms

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Rowden Chrome'

Family

Iridaceae

Common name/s ?

Montbretia 'George Davison' and Montbretia 'Rowden Chrome'.

Skill rating

Easy

Origin

South Africa.

Type of plant ?

Deciduous, herbaceous perennial.

Hardiness zone ?

RHS zone

Hardy

EGF zone

H3 to H4 (generally hardy but may not survive a hard frost)

USDA zone

6-9

Eventual size

Grows to 1m height and 40cm spread.

Growth rate ?

Moderate, will reach full size in 2 to 5 years.

Shape it grows into

Forms clumps of slender foliage intermingled with tall flower stems.

Season/s of interest

Flowers in July and August.

Where to grow it

Happy in full sun or part shade.
Prefers well drained to moist soil.

Happy in any soil type and pH. Will cope with exposed or sheltered sites and prefers a south, east or west facing aspect.

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'George Davison'

Features

Clumps of attractively slender foliage appears from spring, joined in summer by tall stems bearing a series of orange buds which burst open into bright, orange-yellow flowers.

What to use it for

Perfect for ‘warm’ colour schemes in both cottage-style and more modern design gardens. Useful for slopes, coastal areas and as cut flowers. Hoverflies and bees are attracted to the flowers. Can be grown in large containers (although it grows best directly in the ground).

How to look after it

Plant corms 8 to 10cm deep in the spring after the last frosts. Dig up and divide the clumps of corms every 3 to 4 years to keep the plants vigorous.

Mulching with an organic mulch in the autumn can provide some additional winter protection.

How to prune it

The spent flower stems and foliage can be cut down to 5cm above ground level in the autumn. However, the leaves provide shelter for insects and can help protect the corms from the winter cold, so, if you can cope with the sight of tatty leaves, it’s best the leave them in place until the spring.

How to propagate it

Divide clumps of corms in spring or in late summer. This can either be done by dividing the clumps into individual ‘chains’ of corms (the younger corms develop on top of the older ones to form chain-like structures) or, if there aren’t sufficient chains, by splitting up individual corms.

Alternatively, collect seeds in autumn and sow immediately in loam-based container compost (as this is an interspecific hybrid it may not produce fertile seed and any it does produce is unlikely to come true to type).

The individual corms can also be divided by ’sectioning’ – cutting them into sections in spring, before the new growth appears. Grow on in pots or in a nursery bed.

Common problems

Generally pest and disease free.

Other useful information

The genus name Crocosmia derives from the Greek words ‘krokos’ meaning ’saffron’ and ‘osme’ meaning ’scented’. Crocosmia flowers are said to have the scent of saffron when dried or soaked in water, hence the name.

The hybrid Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora was originally developed in the 1800s by the Lemoine nursery in France. It is a cross between Crocosmia aurea and Crocosmia pottsii. They gave it the common name of ‘montbretia’, after the botanist Antoine Fran├žois Ernest Conquebert de Monbret, who accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte on his 1798 campaign in Egypt.

This cultivar was hybridised by George Davison in 1902. Davison was the head gardener at Westwick Hall in Cambridgeshire, UK, and bred around 13 Crocosmia cultivars from 1895.