I live in North York, ON. I believe my hardiness zone is 6. I would like to know is Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ a perennial plant? Can be planted in fall? Can it tolerate the frost or does it need to be dug out? I intend to plant it in partial shade, in front of my house.
I love Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, which is happiest in a location that gets lots of sun, although it should tolerate partial shade. The plant grows from corms, which are like bulbs, and is considered a perennial.
In climates where there is minimal danger of frost, the corms could be planted either in late winter or early spring. However, in Toronto, where frost is expected to start in the autumn, the corms should be planted in the spring, after all danger of frost has passed. The plants will start to grow once the soil is warm, and bloom in the late summer and fall.
Although some experts have found that the plant tolerates the frost that we see in the Greater Toronto Area, these Crocosmia are not reliably winter hardy. You have a couple of options. The first would be to take a chance and leave the corms in the ground all year – if you do so, make sure you cover them with several centimetres of mulch to protect them over the winter.
The second is to treat the plant as a tender perennial: Dig up the corms in the autumn, a few weeks after the plants have bloomed and the foliage has died back. Allow them to dry and remove any surrounding soil, then store them in a cool place (e.g., unheated basement – the temperatures should remain above freezing) in paper bag, along with a storage medium (e.g., peat moss, vermiculite, newspapers, sawdust) to help keep them dry. Inspect them a few times over the winter to make sure there is no rot or mold and remove damaged material. Then plant them again in the late spring…
Here are some helpful articles:
- Missouri Botanical Garden. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.
- University of Minnesota Extension. Storing tender bulbs and bulblike structures. — This provides details on how to dig and store the corms over winter.
Good luck with your crop of Crocosmia! I’ve tried planting ‘Lucifer’ in the past – and hope to do so again this coming spring. I planted the corms in part shade, and the plants did well that summer, but then I neglected to mulch the plants over the winter – and I lost them all. Next spring, I will take the risk that the plants will survive winter, and will make sure I use lots of mulch! Please write in to tell us what you decided upon, and how your plants fared!