Where in the garden to locate crocosmia?

pizzuti(5A)September 16, 2011

I live in an apartment in Denver but I recently came across some Crocosmia in a 1-gallon container that was heavily discounted for clearing summer inventory, I bought it, and am going to plant it at my parents house in the suburbs (where I visit weekly and garden).

I've heard crocosmia is on the edge of hardiness here. I don't know what level of drought/shade it can tolerate in this climate. Looking for a good spot to put it - here are my options:

1) There is a brick wall that faces South, which radiates heat during winter and gladiolus planted in front of it come up every year without being dug. I'm certain the cold would not be an issue for crocosmia there.

The problem with that spot is, it rarely gets watered, and since I don't live there I don't have any control over that. There are some asiatic lillies there which are slowly declining, and I'm moving them to a moister spot elsewhere. The gladiolus bloom nicely but don't thrive as much as they do in a spot away from the house near the vegetable garden, where there is lots of water and we dig them in fall.

2) There's also a part-shade area nearby, by a deck, which also might retain a couple degrees worth of heat in winter. It gets a little more water, and also because of the afternoon shade it stays moist longer. But not lots of water - enough for some tea roses nearby to do well (water-wise; but they could probably use more sun), but the chrysanthemums there occasionally wilt.

3) If I plant them a few feet over, they'll get a little more shade (in the afternoon) because it would be closer to a tree. The soil is usually moist under the mulch because the shade keeps it cool and it gets the same amount of water as the #2 location. (Also thinking of a location similar to this, but with morning shade/afternoon sun instead of the reverse.)

4) Finally, there is an even shadier spot that is reliably moist because of automatic sprinkling, near a shed. The soil is quite rich, too. I know that on the Front Range all the cloudless days and more intense sunlight from the altitude allows plants that normally marked "full sun" to deal with part sun, and plants marked "part sun" can deal with shade with occasional sun, so I'm thinking it might work. There is a clematis nearby which is declining due to the shade. Some asiatic lilies, which are supposedly sun-loving, really thrive there so that's also where I'm moving the rest of 'em, but there's room for more.

5) I could put it in full sun near the vegetable garden, with the gladiolus that we dig in fall, where it would certainly get enough sun and enough water, but I would really prefer not to have to dig it up, and also it doesn't quite "fit in" with the context. This is probably the last resort; all other options are equal.

For those who have grown Crocosmia in the Denver area, what's usually the its limiting factor - cold, water, or sunlight? Where would you put it? I have a very small number of plants and I would want them to multiply.

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Dan Staley

For those who have grown Crocosmia in the Denver area, what's usually the its limiting factor - cold, water, or sunlight?

All three. The ones I have that ~bloom are in full sun getting overspray from turf irrigation. I loved it in Seattle when kept in control, here I'm down to ignoring it and if I get a bloom out of it, great.

Dan

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 8:46AM
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bob_in_colorado

I live in Falcon, zone 5 at about 7000 ft. I have both the lucifer crocosmia (red) and the orange kind. Don't know the name.

They come back every year! They are planted up against a retaining wall, get full sun, and whatever water the sprinkler give them. They are thinly mulched. The lucifers do very well and the hummingbirds love them.

All of that being said, don't plant them in the open if you have a lot of wind unless they're supported.

Hope that helps. Oh.... Also, rocky soil with clay down there somewhere.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 8:14PM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

I have had Lucifer for years.

I'm not sure why I planted where I did. It's in full wind. It gets lots of water from a dripline and the mulch has long blown away. It gets only afternoon sun, but full at that. The plant is maybe 10' from my house - brick. So it does get the heat from that in the winter. But it is thriving and multiplying! It probably could use support from the wind.

This month I bought a yellow one and divided the root ball before planting. This one is also in full wind but more sun and less water. We'll see...

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 10:34PM
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