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Crocosmia is a fiery fall bloomer.

Gardeners who know them love crocosmias, although some may call them tritonias or montbretias. Whichever name you prefer for these free-flowering South African natives, they thrive in mild-winter climates; provide partial shade where summers are hot. From late summer to early fall, they reward growers with copious blooms in fiery shades of orange to scarlet.

Buy corms now at nurseries (you may have to check several). Planting bed soil should be well amended with organic matter. Place corms about 4 inches deep and 6 to 12 inches apart, depending on how dense you want the clumps, which will spread and multiply each year. After a few years, they will seem naturalized.

These 3-foot-tall plants look good scattered through a ground cover or mixed with perennial and annual wildflowers.

Water to supplement rains as necessary. In summer, plants need only occasional water. In fall, after flowers fade and the sword-shaped leaves brown, cut them back to ground level.
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Date:Feb 1, 1984
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