The Q&A Archives: Plant Identification

Question: Have you ever heard of a plant called "mombrisia"? I bought some flowers today at the flower mart in downtown LA that were unusual . . . the leaves are like iris, long narrow, and the flower resembles a freesia but the color is a very intense orange/red growing on a long stalk with buds opening up at the top. This may be a freesia but I've never seen one like it.

Answer: Yes, I've heard of Montbretia. The botanical name is Crocosmia crocosmiiflora. It's native to tropical and southern Africa and grows wonderfully well in southern California. The plants naturalize when provided with well-draining, rich, moist soil. They flower best in full sunshine but will tolerate some afternoon shade. Montbretia grows from corms. Set them 2" apart and 3" deep in prepared soil, then stand back and enjoy their blooms. After a few years, when flowering declines, they'll need to be divided and replanted. Other than that, they're quite carefree. Enjoy!

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