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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

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A flurry of new crocosmias

Posted by Graham Rice on 14 Jul 2008 at 05:30 PM

It’s crocosmia season and in gardens, around the shows, in garden centres and at many nurseries crocosmias are opening their fiery sprays. Gardeners with a taste for pastels are sometimes wary of their flaming colours but they make fine garden plants and excellent cut flowers. And there are quite few newcomers this year.

From the breeding work of David Tristram comes Bright Eyes (‘Walbreyes’) in bright yellowish-orange with a rich red eye; a great combination. And it’s sterile so flowers prolifically and throws no inferior self sown seedlings. Look out for it in RHS plant centres.

‘African Gold’ has large, outward facing, golden yellow flowers while ‘Cylvia’ is bright orange with a paler streak through each lobe and a yellow throat, its colouring is noticeably subtle.

From plant breeder Ken Ridgely comes the lovely 'Golden Ballerina' with large elegant, downward-facing, bright orange flowers with slender petals held on 90cm arching stems. ‘Hellfire’ is similar to the well known ‘Lucifer’ but with larger, darker flowers with no yellow parts in the flower to detract from the rich colouring. And the flower stems are stylishly mahogany brown.

The unusually vigorous ‘Paul’s Best Yellow’ has huge, outward facing, rather flat, golden flowers which are strikingly pure in colour and show themselves off well. ‘Salsa’ has orange flowers, upward facing with a striking red ring around the yellow throat.

There are seventeen new crocosmias out this year, and look out for two more which are on the way from Trecanna Nursery. ‘Tamar Glow’ is like a large-flowered form of the familiar montbretia with unusually early orange-red flowers above pleated leaves. ‘Zeal Remembrance’ was raised by the late Terry Jones, all of whose introductions feature the Zeal prefix, and is a very large flowered, early orange.

The big news – though not everyone thinks it’s good news, I have to say – is that there’s a double-flowered red crocosmia on the way. But it’s not out yet.

Here’s the full list crocosmias added to this year's RHS Plant Finder, check there for the sources of each.

Crocosmia Bright Eyes ('Walbreyes')
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'African Gold'
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Heligan'
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Moses'
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Severn Seas'
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora Wasdale strain
Crocosmia 'Cylvia'
Crocosmia 'Fireworks'
Crocosmia 'Golden Ballerina'
Crocosmia 'Hellfire'
Crocosmia masoniorum Holehird strain
Crocosmia masoniorum Slieve Donard selection
Crocosmia 'Moorland Blaze'
Crocosmia 'Orange River'
Crocosmia 'Paul's Best Yellow'
Crocosmia 'Salsa'
Crocosmia 'Tangerine'


Mr_Crocosmia said:

Hello Graham

I just wanted to comment on your article as I am the NCCPG National Collection Holder of Crocosmia.

Firstly, most of the crocosmia on the list you have are not new as such, they have been around for many years, but never been put into the PlantFinder.

For instance 'Tangerine', this has been around since the 1920's. 'Cyvia' since 2000. etc

Also 'African Gold', this was entered into the plantfinder by Wisley plant shop this year.... but they don't have it, so that is not available at all, anywhere!!

'Golden Ballerina' is another one that i have a problem with. But i wont go into details concerning that.

The big news as you call it......... about crocosmia with double flowers. There were double flowered crocosmia being bred in the early 1900's, so this is not something new.

In fact I myself have a double Orange one that has yet to be named, and is not yet available for sale.

Anyway, thank you for doing a blog about crocosmia, they are very much under-rated as a garden plant, simply because people think they are all invasive like the Common Montbretia (the Orange one). In fact most are very well behaved and grow into nice clumps that are easy to manage.

Mark Fox

The Crocosmia Gardens

NCCPG National Collection Holder of Crocosmia

on 18 Jul 2008 at 09:23 AM

Graham Rice said:

Thanks, Mark, for all that additional info - I appreciate it. I knew doubles had been bred long ago, and disappeared - I've never seen one! Please let me know when yours becomes available. I take your point about some of the 2008 Plant Finder newcomers being re-introductions, and I've amended the wording in my post accordingly. To be honest, I just didn't have time to double check every one.

Can I take this opportunity to ask a question?: A florist friend says her customers are asking for crocosmias in pastel colours - pale primrose, cream etc. Any recommendations, any new varieties in paler shades on the way?

on 25 Jul 2008 at 08:42 PM

Mr_Crocosmia said:

Hi Graham

There aren't really any available in pastel colours..... the one that comes to mind is called 'Sunzest', it is pastel coloured but not the prettiest plant in the world. The flowers are small and to me wishy washy.

I guess there are some pastel pinkish ones such as 'Mullard Pink', Culzean Pink' etc.

Crocosmia Rosea would look good as a cut flower although the stems are wirey.

on 16 Mar 2009 at 09:16 AM

Graham Rice said:

Perhaps, Mark, it would be worth someone doing some breeding along those lines.

on 16 Mar 2009 at 10:04 AM

Mr_Crocosmia said:

We currently have a breeding programme going on, so maybe one day we will have some pastel colours!!

on 17 Mar 2009 at 06:20 AM

Graham Spencer, Plants For Europe Ltd said:

Minor correction: breeder's name is Ken Rigney, not Ridgely.

on 30 Apr 2013 at 10:33 AM