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crocosmia

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BOTANICAL NAME
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora
(krow-KOZ-mee-uh krow-koz-mee-i-FLO-ra)

COMMON NAMES
Montbretia (mont-BREE-zha)

DESCRIPTION
These cormous perennials have leafless, arching, branched stems (up to 4 feet in length) with two-ranked “combs” of brightly colored, tubular blooms (up to 2 inches in length) with star-shaped “faces” at their ends. Leaves, which fan from the bases of the plants and are often included in flower bunches, are narrow (1⁄4 inch to 1 inch wide), sword-shaped and “pleated” (parallel veined).

COLORS
Crocosmias’ colors range from crimson/scarlet to red-orange to orange to yellow.

VASE LIFE
With proper care from farm to florist, Crocosmias can provide seven to 14 days of vase life at the consumer level; however, individual blossom drop will occur about three days after flower opening.

AVAILABILITY
Depending on variety, as well as sourcing both domestic and foreign growers, flowering Crocosmias can be found year-round. Peak season, however, is April/May through October/November. Crocosmia seed pods, generally green or reddish-brown, are available through the December holiday season.

VASE-LIFE EXTENDERS
PROCESSING
Carefully remove Crocosmias from packaging, and remove any bindings, being cautious to avoid damaging any open blossoms. Cut at least 1 inch from the bottoms of the stems with a sharp knife or pruner; immediately dip or place the stem ends into a hydration solution; then place the flowers into a clean container partially filled with properly mixed, lukewarm (100 F to 110 F) flower-food solution.
REFRIGERATION
 Store Crocosmias in a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY
Crocosmias are moderately sensitive to ethylene gas, so make sure your flowers are treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the farm level or during transportation. Ethylene will cause the delicate florets to shrivel and fall prematurely.
WATER Check the flower-food solution level daily, and replenish as needed. Recut the stems every two or three days.

QUALITY CHECKLIST
WHEN TO BUY Purchase Crocosmias when a few of the lower-most blooms are open and possibly even shriveled and fallen off. If cut too tight, flowers may not open; on the other hand, open blossoms can be damaged easily during transportation.

STOP THE MOLD Crocosmias can mold quickly without plenty of air circulation, so remove any packing sleeves immediately upon the flowers’ arrival.
 
 

fun facts


 
 


WHAT’S IN A NAME The genus name “Crocosmia” comes from the Greek words “krokos” (saffron) and “osme” (smell). Dried Crocosmia flowers, especially when placed in warm water, have a strong saffron smell. The common name “montbretia” is an homage to Antoine François Ernest Conquebert de Montbret (1781-1801), one of the botanists accompanying Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt from 1798 to 1801, where he died.

FAMILY Members of the Iridaceae (Iris) family, Crocosmias are closely related to Crocuses, Freesias, Gladioli, Irises, Ixias and Watsonias.

HOME SWEET HOME Crocosmias are native to South Africa.
 


 

 

 

life after life


 
 
  • Crocosmia flowers and foliage can be air-dried by simply hanging small bunches of opening flowers upside down in a warm, dry location for several days. Circulating air is a must to prevent molding. These flowers should retain their color well, and the narrow foliage will add extra interest and texture to your dried arrangements.

  • Crocosmia seed pods, which occur after flowering is finished, are trendy, textural botanicals. They are easily made appealing to the youth market by spray-painting them in an array of bright and fashion-forward colors.

 


Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network® , www.chainoflife.org
Dictionary of Plant Names, by Allen J. Coombes
Florists’ Review
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William T. Stearn

 

Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.