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Emily McKenzie Montbretia Plants (Emily McKenzie Crocosmia)Emily McKenzie Montbretia Plants (Emily McKenzie Crocosmia)Emily McKenzie Montbretia Plants (Emily McKenzie Crocosmia)Emily McKenzie Montbretia Plants (Emily McKenzie Crocosmia)

Emily McKenzie Montbretia Plants

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora Emily McKenzieFeefo logo

The details

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora, Montbretia

Pot Grown Herbaceous Perennials
  • Colour: orange and red
  • Flowering: Aug-Oct
  • Foliage: upright strap-like leaves
  • Height: 60cm
  • Spread: 10cm
  • Scent: none
  • Spacing: 30cm
  • Position: Sun or part shade
  • Soil: moderately fertile and well drained
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Description

Crocosmia Emily McKenzie

Emily McKenzie is a crocosmia with so much going for her. Some of the crocosmia family can get tall and windswept, but not our Emily. At 60cm, she's the compact member of the clan, so brilliant for smaller gardens and borders. The colour, too, is fabulous. The buds, along the length of each elegant arching stem, are burnished wallflower red, opening to larger than usual (for crocosmias) flowers. Individually they are six-pointed stars, a luscious tangerine orange splashed with crimson appearing from August to October.

The foliage is handsome: upright and sword-like with parallel veining, dying back each autumn to reappear in spring.

Fiery combinations

While Emily McKenzie is happy in a well-watered pot on the patio, she is at her best in a border in sun or dappled shade, planted towards the front, weaved in and out of other perennials, or as an edging to a path. She's happy in most soils as long as it's moist and neither very heavy clay or nutrient-poor sand, so dig in plenty of organic matter if this is the case. The fading foliage is best left on, but if it offends, do cut it back and give your plants a feed and a mulch in spring.

When looking for planting companions, think in terms of loose informality and combine with other late-flowering perennials with a relaxed habit and contrasting shape. Rudbeckias (the yellow ones with the darker centres) look particularly good with Emily McKenzie, as do airy grasses, tall purple Verbena bonariensis, aster, dahlias and rich purple penstemons.

Features

  • Colour: orange, splashed with red
  • Flowering: Aug-Oct
  • Foliage: upright strap-like leaves that die back in autumn
  • Height: 60cm
  • Spread: 10cm
  • Scent: none
  • Spacing: 30cm
  • Position: Sun or part shade
  • Soil: moderately fertile and well drained

Behind the name

Crocosmia (or as they used to be known as, montbretia) come from the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa and are members of the Iris family (Iridaceae). The name has its roots in the Greek for 'saffron' (krokos) and 'odour' (osme), as dried crocosmia leaves are said to smell of saffron (which comes from the crocus flower) if you steep them in water.

Cultivation Instructions

Plant crocosmias in moist, well-drained soil in full sun or part shade, digging in some organic matter if the soil is sandy or very heavy. Space about 30cm apart and keep well watered until established. If planting in pots, make sure they don't dry out.

In colder areas with hard frosts, cover the crown with a mulch of bracken, bark chippings or garden compost in winter. Lift and divide congested clumps in spring, planting the new sections 10cm deep.