Crocosmias make a wonderful addition to any garden, thanks to their exotic and vivid blooms. But what if your crocosmias are not flowering at all?
This unfortunate situation might make you feel like your gardening efforts have been a failure, but do not worry! In this article, we have summarized the possible reasons your crocosmias are not blooming, as well as what you can do to correct these problems.
How to grow crocosmias
Crocosmia is a deciduous perennial with sword-shaped leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers that come in orange, red, or yellow. These brightly-colored crocosmia flowers are a favorite for landscape borders and flower beds, blooming from mid-summer to fall. Once the blooming period is over, their mid-green foliage becomes the center of attention, from fall to spring.
Perhaps you are attracted to the exotic aesthetic of crocosmias and want to grow some in your garden. But, as with other ornamentals, the beauty of these blooms comes with certain requirements. Your crocosmias will want moderately fertile soil that is slightly moist and well-draining. The addition of mulch will also be beneficial for these plants to retain soil moisture, especially during the hot season. Mulch can also enrich the soil without the use of fertilizer.
Moisture is of utmost importance for these plants, so do not forget to water them whenever the soil starts to dry. However, make sure to avoid overwatering as this can damage the roots. During the cold months, limit your watering and consider adding mulch to protect the soil from freezing temperatures.
Another factor to keep in mind is the amount of sunlight your crocosmias need. These beauties prefer to get a daily dose of full sunlight in order to flower vigorously. They can also survive well in partial shade, but may not grow and flower as healthily as those that receive lots of sunshine. To help your plants grow to their full potential, make sure to grow them in a sunny spot that faces east, south, or west.
If you want to grow your crocosmias in a flower bed, it is highly recommended to plant them in a group of 12. Crocosmias typically grow in clumps, and by grouping them you can achieve a great display of flowers and foliage during the summer.
Some crocosmia cultivars can be invasive, especially as they become more established, and will compete for soil nutrients and water. For this reason, try to plant them about six to eight inches apart and at least 20 inches away from other plants.
Lastly, make sure to keep your flower beds free from weeds, as they might interfere with your crocosmias’ rhizomes.
Why is my crocosmia not flowering?
1. Too much fertilizer
Overfertilizing is by far the most likely reason your crocosmias are not producing blooms.
As you might know, fertilizer is essential for lush, healthy foliage. But this comes at the expense of flowers, especially if the fertilizer has a high nitrogen content. Your crocosmia will grow bushier and greener, but with few to no flowers.
Additionally, crocosmias are not heavy feeders. In their natural habitat, these perennials grow in moderately fertile, well-draining soil. They are also known to survive and even bloom in poor rocky soils in South Africa. Hence, feeding them excessive amounts of fertilizer is almost unnecessary.
If you have overfertilized your crocosmias, it might be a little late to expect them to flower in the same year. But you can correct the issues to ensure that they produce their beautiful blossoms in the following year. Here is what you need to do:
- First, amend the soil around your plant by adding manure, compost, or leaf mold. These organic materials will not only enrich the soil but also improve aeration.
- Reduce your fertilizer if you want the plants to flower vigorously. Fertilizers, especially those high in nitrogen, are only beneficial for the leaves. Crocosmias generally do not need a lot of fertilizer to produce abundant flowers.
- Add mulch into the soil, especially during the hot summer months, to keep it moist.
- Do not be dismayed if you have applied too much fertilizer as your crocosmias will likely grow taller and bushier despite the reduced blooming. It is advised to cut them back six weeks before their expected flowering season to manage their size and promote branching. By the next growing season, you should see your plants produce healthier leaves and plenty of blooms.
2. Lack of sunlight
Their location and the amount of sunlight received by your crocosmias can greatly impact their ability to flower.
Crocosmias can grow in partial shade, but they flower best in full, direct sunlight. That said, exposing them to extreme heat for prolonged periods can burn their leaves. If you live in an area with a hot climate, make sure to plant your crocosmias in a cooler location with filtered sunlight. Do not place them anywhere too shady, though, as this will turn the leaves pale and discourage flowering.
Consider adding mulch to keep the soil cool and prevent excessive dryness, especially during the summer. Mulching helps reduce the amount of moisture lost via evaporation, so that you do not have to water your plants as frequently.
3. Water stress
Usually, crocosmias need to be watered thoroughly once a week. This will keep their soil slightly moist and create favorable conditions for flowering.
Keep in mind, though, that your plants’ watering needs may vary depending on your local weather conditions. During the dry seasons, you may need to increase your watering a bit to keep your plants well-hydrated. Checking the soil regularly will also help you understand your plants’ moisture needs. A soil moisture probe is your best friend to prevent under- or overwatering, but if you don’t have one, feeling the top two inches of the soil with your finger also works.
Again, to prevent water stress, consider adding mulch to prevent the soil from drying too quickly, especially if you live in a hot area.
4. Crocosmias do not flower in the first year
If, after carefully reviewing your plant care routine, you cannot seem to find any issues, then perhaps it is too early to expect flowers from your crocosmias. Check your calendar – when did you plant them? If the plants are less than a year old, you might need to wait until the next growing season to see their lovely flowers.
Crocosmia plants do not necessarily produce flowers in their first year. They also need a bit of time to acclimatize to a new environment. So be patient and give your plants the time they need to bloom, especially if you bought them from a greenhouse or your local nursery. Your garden might have different conditions to those of their previous environment, and this can be stressful for them.
In general, crocosmias are not fussy when it comes to their plant care requirements. However, they do need at least a year to fully establish and adapt to their new home before they can flower abundantly.
In what month does crocosmia bloom?
Fully established crocosmias usually bloom from around July up to September; they will keep producing flowers throughout the summer. These perennials are greatly admired for their showy, brightly-colored flowers, which add a tropical vibe to any landscape.
Crocosmia flowers grow on slender stems that are about two feet in length. Limit your pruning if you are expecting the plants to bloom; instead, cut back the flower stems in November, after the blooming season is over.
Do crocosmias flower every year?
Crocosmias are considered perennials in USDA zones five to nine, meaning that you can expect your plants to bloom year after year.
As mentioned previously, though, crocosmias might not produce flowers during their first year of growth. Patience is key. Continue nurturing your plants until they become well-established, and you will be rewarded with spectacular blooms every year.
How do I get my crocosmias to bloom?
Growing crocosmias for the first time can be intimidating for an inexperienced grower. But, as you begin to better understand their growing requirements, you will realize that they are not that difficult to care for after all! Just remember these basics to succeed in growing your crocosmia flowers:
- Plant your crocosmias in areas with access to full sunlight.
- Keep your soil in check. Crocosmias bloom best if their soil is consistently moist but never soggy.
- You do not need to fertilize these plants. Crocosmias can grow happily just with some mulch.
- Use a well-draining compost.
- Crocosmias can tolerate a soil pH between 6.5 to 7.5.
- Cut back the flower stems after your plants are done flowering. This will promote a new set of healthy flowers in the next season.
Additionally, it is best not to cut back the foliage during the fall. However, if the leaves have turned brown and your crocosmias look a bit untidy, you can gradually snip off some of the leaves and use them as mulch in the late fall. Mulching will help insulate the bulbs from freezing temperatures and keep the soil fertile, ensuring that your crocosmias are ready for vigorous growth in the next blooming season.
Crocosmia plants may not bloom for a variety of reasons, including a lack of soil moisture or inadequate sunlight. Overall, however, these plants are not fussy about their growing requirements – unlike many other flowering ornamentals. Hence, it should not be so difficult to fix the problem if your crocosmia is not flowering.
Get your soil’s moisture level right, give your plants lots of sunlight, add mulch, and know the right time to prune. In most cases, these are all the basics you will ever need to help your crocosmias bloom abundantly. With proper care, your flower-bare crocosmia will surely bounce back with plenty of blooms next season!
Image: istockphoto.com / PAVEL IARUNICHEV