Montbretia Crocosmia 'Spitfire'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
montbretia 'Spitfire'


Crocosmia 'Spitfire' is an eye-catching perennial plant known for its vibrant and fiery flowers that bloom in the summer and early fall. The appearance of 'Spitfire' is characterized by its arching stems which bear a succession of flower buds and blossoms. Each flower has a trumpet-like shape and is typically a bright, intense red or orange hue, creating a dramatic visual impact. The foliage of 'Spitfire' is also notable; it consists of long, slender, and sword-shaped leaves that are a deep green color, adding to the plant's striking form. These leaves grow from a basal clump and may be pleated, giving them a textured look. The contrast between the green leaves and the bold colorful flowers makes Crocosmia 'Spitfire' a popular choice for gardeners looking to add a splash of color to their landscape. In addition to its beauty, the plant is known for its ability to attract pollinators like hummingbirds and bees, who are drawn to its tubular flowers for nectar. The arrangement of its blooms along the stems in a descending pattern adds to its visual appeal, with unopened buds at the top and opened flowers beneath. As a member of the iris family, the flowers have a certain elegance and formality that make them sought-after for cut flower arrangements as well. Crocosmia 'Spitfire' is appreciated for its low maintenance requirements and its capability to thrive in a variety of soil conditions. It can make a stunning addition to borders, beds, and containers, where its intense color and unique flower shape can be fully appreciated. Despite its tropical appearance, the plant is relatively hardy and can survive in varied climates, although it flourishes best in full sun exposures.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Montbretia, Coppertips, Falling Stars

    • Common names

      Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Spitfire'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Crocosmia 'Spitfire', commonly known as Montbretia, is not widely known to be toxic to humans. There is limited information on the toxicity of Montbretia to humans, and it is generally considered not poisonous. Therefore, there are no specific symptoms of poisoning to describe as it is not commonly reported to cause harm when touched or ingested. However, as with any plant, individual allergic reactions or sensitivity can occur, so it is advisable to exercise caution and avoid ingesting plant parts.

    • To pets

      Montbretia is not specifically listed as toxic to pets. Generally, it is considered non-toxic, and there are no well-documented symptoms of poisoning from Montbretia in pets. However, as with humans, individual pets may have varying sensitivities, and ingestion of any plant material can potentially lead to gastrointestinal upset or an allergic reaction. It is always best to keep an eye on your pets and prevent them from chewing on or ingesting plants that are not confirmed to be safe.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      South Africa


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: Crocosmia 'Spitfire' is great for attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the garden, which helps pollinate other plants.
    • Vibrant Color: Adds a burst of fiery red-orange color to garden landscapes, making it a striking addition.
    • Long Blooming Period: Offers an extended display of flowers from mid to late summer, providing long-lasting visual interest.
    • Easy to Grow: It is known for being hardy and relatively low maintenance, making it suitable for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Drought-Tolerant: Once established, Crocosmia 'Spitfire' can tolerate periods of dryness, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Architectural Interest: The sword-shaped foliage and arching flower stems add structural interest to plantings.
    • Good Cut Flowers: The blooms make for excellent cut flowers, allowing for beautiful indoor arrangements.
    • Resistant to Deer: Typically resistant to deer, which can be beneficial in areas where deer predation is a common problem for gardeners.
    • Pest Resistant: It generally has few problems with pests, which means less effort in maintenance and pest control.
    • Compact Growth: Crocosmia 'Spitfire' has a clumping habit, making it suitable for borders or tight spaces without overwhelming the area.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Crocosmia 'Spitfire' can be used as a natural dye source for fabrics, providing a range of warm hues to textiles.
    • The plant is sometimes incorporated into animal enclosures in zoos to provide a naturalistic environment and promote animal enrichment through interaction with the foliage.
    • Crocosmia's sturdy stems can be utilized in light basketry work or as a natural crafting material for eco-friendly art projects.
    • Its distinctive seed pods can be collected and used as a unique addition to dried flower arrangements or for decorative purposes in crafts.
    • Crocosmia 'Spitfire' can serve as an indicator plant in gardens, signaling soil conditions or the presence of specific pests due to its reactions in different environments.
    • Photographers often use Crocosmia as a striking foreground subject in garden and nature photography due to its vibrant color and structural form.
    • The plant may be integrated into educational programs to teach students about pollination and the role of hummingbirds and insects in the ecosystem.
    • Crocosmia's cut flowers are sometimes used for practicing flower arrangement techniques in beginner horticultural or floral design courses.
    • It can be planted along slopes or banks to provide erosion control due to its clumping growth habit and extensive root system.
    • Some chefs use Crocosmia flowers as an edible garnish to add a splash of color to creative dishes, although they should be used sparingly as they have minimal flavor.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Montbretia is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Montbretia is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Passion and Love: The Crocosmia 'Spitfire', commonly known as Montbretia, with its fiery red blossoms, is often associated with deep passion and love. It embodies intense feelings and emotions.
    • Vitality and Energy: Montbretia's vibrant colors signify liveliness and vigor, representing a zest for life and an energetic presence.
    • Boldness and Assertion: Due to its striking appearance, Montbretia is a symbol of boldness and assertion, encouraging one to make a strong impression and stand out.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Late spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Montbretia 'Spitfire' should be watered deeply once a week, allowing the top 2 inches of soil to dry out between waterings. During peak blooming time or in extreme heat, increase watering to twice a week but be cautious not to overwater and ensure good drainage to avoid rot. Each watering should provide enough water to soak the roots; this will typically be about 1 to 1.5 gallons depending on the size of the plant and the environmental conditions. Reducing watering as the plant goes dormant in the fall is essential.

  • sunLight

    Montbretia 'Spitfire' thrives best in full sun conditions. The perfect spot for this plant is in an area where it will receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Partial shade is also acceptable, especially in hotter climates, but too much shade can result in fewer blooms.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Montbretia 'Spitfire' can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but grows best when daytime temperatures are between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive minimal frosts, but extended exposure to temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit can damage the plant. The optimal temperature range supports the most vigorous growth and blooming.

  • scissorsPruning

    For Montbretia 'Spitfire', pruning is necessary to remove dead or damaged foliage and to promote healthy growth and blooming. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring, just before new growth begins. Cut back all of the previous year's growth to about 4 inches above ground level. After blooming, remove spent flowers to encourage additional blooms.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Montbretia 'Spitfire' thrives in well-draining, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. A mix containing loam, compost, and sharp sand can create an ideal growing condition for this perennial.

  • plantRepotting

    Montbretia 'Spitfire' typically requires repotting every 2 to 3 years, or when the clumps become overcrowded.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Montbretia 'Spitfire' prefers outdoor conditions and tolerates a range of humidity levels, doing best with average ambient humidity.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, good air circulation, and pot in well-draining soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun to part shade, in well-draining, fertile soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Crocosmia 'Spitfire', commonly known as Spitfire Montbretia, typically begins its life as a corm, which is an underground storage organ. In spring, new shoots emerge from the corm and develop into long, sword-shaped leaves. By midsummer, the plant forms tall, arching stems with funnel-shaped, fiery red-orange flowers that attract pollinators. After blooming, the flowers give way to seed capsules, which can self-sow under conducive conditions. Come late autumn, the foliage dies back, and the plant goes dormant for the winter, with the corm sustaining it until the following spring when the cycle restarts. Regular division of the corms every few years can rejuvenate the plant and prevent overcrowding.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late spring to early summer

    • The Crocosmia 'Spitfire', commonly known as Montbretia, is typically propagated through division, which is best performed in the spring. The method involves gently separating the corms, which are the bulb-like storage organs of the plant, each with a growing point, from the parent clump. Once divided, the corms can be immediately replanted about 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 cm) deep in well-draining soil, spacing them approximately 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) apart. This allows each newly planted corm access to adequate nutrients and space to develop its own root system and foliage. It's crucial to keep the soil moderately moist but not waterlogged to encourage growth. Montbretia 'Spitfire' will establish itself quickly, often blooming in the following growing season after division.