To the crocosmia genus belong some species of geophyte plants, whose roots develop large rounded corms, originating in Southern Africa. In the nursery we can find only four species of Crocosmia: C. aurea, C. potsii, C. masoniorum and C. paniculata; over the years numerous hybrids have been produced, and in particular, a hybrid developed centuries ago in France, Crocosmia crocosmiiflora, also called Montbretia, is very widespread. The plants of crocosmia they produce long lanceolate leaves, sword-shaped, light green, bright, slightly fleshy; some species and hybrids have the leaves folded sideways, which tend to spread out on the ground; the species masoniorum and paniculata, and their hybrids, on the other hand have well erect and rigid foliage, often larger than their cousins. The leaves can reach 8а-90 cm in height, giving rise to a large patch of vegetation; they develop in spring, and completely dry out at the arrival of autumn, although some varieties in decidedly mild climate conditions even in winter tend to keep some green leaves even during the cold season. Starting from the summer, thin stems develop between the leaves, erect or arched according to the species, which bring numerous buds to the apex, which bloom in succession; Crocosmia flowers are typically orange or red, tubular in shape, although there are yellow or almost pinkish hybrid varieties.
Not all monbreza species come from the same area of Africa, therefore some cultivation characteristics differ from species to species, even if, in general, these are plants closely related to the irises, with which they share a large part of the characteristics of cultivation. The aurea and pottsii species originate in areas of Africa with a warm temperate climate, with fairly low winter minimums, used to living in semi-shaded conditions, thus their hybrids. In Italy crocosmias of the species masoniorum and paniculata are more easily found, and hybrid varieties, which can safely live outdoors even during the winter months and prefer cultivation conditions similar to those of gladioli or irises. The crocosmias therefore place themselves in a flowerbed where they can enjoy at least a few hours of direct sunlight, or even completely in the sun; they do not fear the rigors of winter, and therefore the corms can be left undisturbed in the ground. They need watering in spring, especially if they have recently been home, or if the climate is dry, and also during the warm months, until the leaves dry up; however, these are plants that well withstand drought, and that do not like water stagnation, and therefore it is advisable to water only in well-dry soil. Starting from when you see the first shoots, it is good to start supplying a good fertilizer for flowering plants, not excessively rich in nitrogen; to avoid having to water the plants often, it is convenient to spread slow release granular fertilizer around the shoots, which will melt with the rains. Not loving water stagnations, these plants must be grown in a good rich soil, but very well drained; if the soil of our garden is clayey or excessively compact, before placing the corms in it, we lighten the soil with fresh soil and sand or pumice stone to improve the flow of water. When the autumn cold arrives, the leaves of MmI cormi can be left at home for the whole year, they will bloom again in spring.