David Fenwick Snr.
Wed, 23 Jun 2010 11:37:39 PDT
>>>>>>Can anyone suggest other cvs or species that succeed, grow,
multiply and BLOOM in Zone 5?

Hi Jim,
Anything you try is likely to be a trial, and of course you're very much 
limited to what's grown across the pond which doesn't help at all.

Of the species, Lucifer's parents; C. masoniorum and C. paniculata, inc. C. 
paniculata 'Natal' (red form) are the hardiest and will be likely to survive 
if planted deeply; when I say deeply I mean 8 inches or more, as long as 
you're ground doesn't suffer too much from compaction you should be OK with 
planting at that depth. The problem is in sourcing 'large' corms that can be 
planted at depth, which is what you'll really need.

Crocosmia species are fairly easy from fresh seed; and I've personally 
flowered C. masoniorum from Satan's Nek in just 10 months from seed; however 
getting hold of such seed can be very difficult. They would need a year or 
two containerised though before trying them outside.

Similarly I've found the colonial close planting of corms is good at 
achieving greater hardiness for smaller cormed varieties and species; e.g 
three or four corms will not have a chance; but 50 or more planted in a 
group might fair better. However this is of course an expensive method of 
doing it unless of course the corms were grown and multiplied in pots given 
protection over successive winters to increase numbers. Corms can of course 
be overwintered out of pots or the ground; BUT, they need to be stored damp 
because stored dry they dessicate and die. Buying Crocosmia corms in a 
packet is never a good idea. Historically, 19th Century they were stored on 
trays of damp sand by European Nurserymen.

Generally speaking you could try any of the ''maspans''; the masoniorum x 
paniculata hybrids; these are generally much hardier than the x 
crocosmiiflora hybrids; corms often larger, and thus can be planted deeper. 
You can tell these from x crocosmiiflora hybrids because they have pleated 
leaves like Lucifer.

In zone 5 I'd plant with the inclusion of sharp sand or gravel or both, 
placed above and below the corms when planting; then mulched after with dry 
bracket / woodchip or something similarly dark. One of the things I did was 
to paint my timber and stone beds with dark green paint and in hope that the 
dark colour would absorb sunlight and raise the bed temperature up quicker 
in spring. Finding the most suitable microclimate in the garden will of 
course also help with hardiness and areas closer to the house, like under 
the eaves of the roof may be better.

One species Crocosmia pottsii, one of the parents of x crocosmiiflora will 
actually tolerate a lot of moisture in the ground and grows alongside 
streams in the wild. It might be worth trying it if you've any very wet 
ground which doesn't, or rarely freezes to the planting depth. The corms of 
this species are small but grow very closely together, it's a great clumper, 
so hardiness in numbers might apply. It's not a very showy species though; 
the best pottsii hybrid being 'Culzean Pink', which is a very elegant plant.

One thing you will find with Crocosmia is that the corms will annually get 
closer to the surface, especially those found on the outer edge of any 
clump; these will of course be more prone to the weather. So worth just 
checking out corm depth with a stick annually.

Mark, and not forgetting his wife Laurie a fine collection of Crocosmia, a 
very very good selection of varieties now; they are both very dedicated to 
them as I once was. I still keep my hand in though, as a referee for the 
Botanical Society of the British Isles.

Re. Tony's mail; 'Walcroy', 'Walhread', and 'Walbreyes'; are their PBR 
names; the may also be purchased under their hybrid names, which are 
Walberton Yellow, Walberton Red and Walberton Bright Eyes. Walberton Red has 
also been referred to as 'Old Hat'. Of these I'd think you'd have the best 
luck with Walberton Red; but then with plants nothing would surprise me.

Hope some of this helps.

Best Wishes,

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