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Pleated leaves Crocosmia paniculata

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Curtonus paniculatus
Phonetic Spelling
kroh-KOZ-mee-ah pan-ik-yah-LA-tah
Description

A member of the Iris family, Crocosmia paniculata is a herbaceous evergreen perennial that typically grows in clumps.  Its name comes from the Greek words krokos and osme, referring to saffron and the odor of dried leaves.   

It surfaces from a corm that will feature crimped basal olive green leaves and showy zigzag red spikes of flowers.  In its native habitat it can be found growing in moist rocky and grassy slopes, in drainage lines, along streams, in marshes and along forest edges.  The flowers appear alternatively along the stalks.  The flowers are considered zygomorphic, that is a flower having bilateral symmetry.  Its petals can only be divided one way to form a mirror image of each other.  The lower three tepals are marked in the lower portion with dark red median streaks.  

The purplish-green floral bracts have a leathery feel. 

Although cold hardy, it is not likely to withstand freezing temperatures.  If grown in cold temperature climates, the corms can be lifted for the winter, or a layer of mulch can be applied to protect the corms from freezing.

Division can be accomplished after dieback occurs following its bloom period, or in the early spring before growth starts.  Cut back the faded foliage in the fall or early spring.

An aroma similar to saffron will emerge when dried flowers are placed in warm water. The dried flowers also produce an orange dye.

It can be found growing on moist rocky and grassy slopes, and forest edges.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  Regions with hot, dry summers will subject the plant to foliage damage from the glasshouse red spider mite. Somewhat slow to reach maturity, it can take up to 3 years.  

In locations that experience very cold winters, care should be taken to protect this plant.  A layer of dry mulch will help to protect it from cold and frost.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cally Greyleaf'
    Blue-grey-silver foliage
  • 'Orangerot'
    Orange/red flowers. More cold tolerant than other varieties.
'Cally Greyleaf', 'Orangerot'
Tags:
#bulb#deciduous#drought tolerant#perennials#perennial bulbs#frost tender#disease resistant#herbaceous#herbaceous perennials#cold tolerant#cutting garden#clumping#wet soils tolerant#wildflower#cut flower#cutting#corm
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cally Greyleaf'
    Blue-grey-silver foliage
  • 'Orangerot'
    Orange/red flowers. More cold tolerant than other varieties.
'Cally Greyleaf', 'Orangerot'
Tags:
#bulb#deciduous#drought tolerant#perennials#perennial bulbs#frost tender#disease resistant#herbaceous#herbaceous perennials#cold tolerant#cutting garden#clumping#wet soils tolerant#wildflower#cut flower#cutting#corm
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Crocosmia
    Species:
    paniculata
    Family:
    Iridaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Garden perennial
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical and eastern South Africa
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts birds that pollinate and spread the seed as well as butterflies and hummingbirds.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Clumping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Capsules 6" long
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Trumpet
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    asymmetrical petals
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Zigzag, outward arching spikes with two rows of 10-22 flowers on the upper side. Flowers are two-lipped. It has green bracts that turn reddish-brown. The flowers are orange to red with unequal tubular petals.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Sword shaped, olive green, pleated leaves make this a strong accent plant.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Description:
    Relatively thick with 2-5 branches that are sometimes also branched.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Patio
    Pond
    Slope/Bank
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Wet Soil