Montbrétien: planting, care and pruning


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Montbretien reflect delicate beauty in the nostalgic charm. These plants, from the genus of the iris family, are very demanding in their care.

BlĂŒtenrispe of the Montbretie

Can you still remember Grandma's garden? Perhaps at that time they also noticed a perennial whose densely spaced leaves rise like elongated lancets and their flower spikes glow red or orange in midsummer.

Delicate looks the perennial, whose name is widely known as Montbretie. In the meantime, more and more tubers or plants already preferred in pots are being offered to the gardeners under the botanical name "Crocosmia".

Anyway, the delicate beauty among the perennials is and remains a delightful classic in every hobby garden.

The Montbretie in detail

To classify is the popular perennial among the iris family. Many species and varieties are reminiscent of gladioli. Therefore, the German name "Abessinische Gladiolus" derives from.

Their ancestral home is located in the highlands of southern Africa. In Central Europe Montbretien are only partially hardy. New breeds are now more robust and can brist mild winters more.

View flower pan of the Montbretie

In early summer, the attractive lily-like leaves give the perennial plant a pleasing appearance. Between July and October, the Crocosmia flowers bright red, dark red, orange or yellow, depending on the variety. The individual funnel-shaped flowers are strung on two sides of the panicle and give the perennial an exotic aura.

Variety-dependent is also the stature height of Montbretie. It is between 60 and 100 centimeters.

Montbretie in the bed

You can impressively combine the Crocosmia in the perennial border with other summer bloomers. Beet compositions with the safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), some spurge (Euphorbia), the garden nettle (Agastache) and the summer marguerite (Leucanthemum maximum) are beneficial.

Montbretien are also suitable as a cut flower. In the vase they last a long time. However, most of the flowers on the reef should have already opened. Cut the inflorescence beforehand, that is almost budded, then the graceful flower does not continue to bloom.

Montbretie location tip

Choose a sunny and sheltered location for Montbrétien. A half-shady place also takes on the delicate growth. It is best to settle the plant on a south-facing house wall or hedgerow plantation. There it is warm longer and the shrub is essentially protected from cold winds.

Claims to the ground

The Cocosmia thrives in almost every garden soil. Simply loosen the soil sufficiently. If the soil is heavy and clayey, then mix a decent amount of sand underneath. It is important that the soil is well drained for your Montbretien, because in damp soils root and tubers rot fast.

If you have the desire to cultivate this handsome tuber on the terrace, then you need a large bucket. But you should lay on the bottom of the planter a 2.5 to 3 centimeters high gravel or pebble layer as a drainage. Then fill in a permeable plant substrate.

Plant Montbretien properly

  1. The tubers can be brought into the ground at the end of April / beginning of May. As planting depth is the threefold tuber size, about 8 to 20 centimeters, estimated. If you live in a region where the climate is rougher, then lower the tubers as a precaution. So protect them from late frosts.
  2. The Montbretie comes in very well, if you plant them as a group or put them in a row along a path. The planting distance to each other is about 10 to 20 centimeters
  3. It is advisable to add compost to the excavation, thereby optimally boosting the growth of the plant. After you have planted the tubers in the soil, pour them vigorously.
  4. Cover the planting site with leaves or needle twigs. Often frost is still to be expected until May, which can damage the tubers.
  5. For the container planting you can take over the just mentioned planting depth and the planting distance. A protection against late frosts is not necessary, because you put the bucket at this time certainly in a protected space.

In the spring Crocosmia only drive out when the ground has warmed up a bit. From the middle to the end of May, the first green of the Montbretien seedlings can be seen.

Pour Montbretie and fertilize additionally

  1. Pour Montbretie really well in the summer. After all, the dainty tuberous plant from its ancestral home is used to wet summers. Water at the latest when the surface of the earth is about 2 centimeters deep dry.
    Preferably, you can use rainwater from the barrel to pour. But the new varieties also tolerate calcareous tap water. The soil should be moist but not wet.Excessive watering can lead to waterlogging. Root and blight are the result.
  2. Fertilize your plant in the spring with a long-term fertilizer, so they receive a magnificent flowering in summer. Crocosmia growing in the tub is preferably supplied with liquid fertilizer weekly.

Do Montbretien need a pruning?

Absolutely. The herbaceous perennials are radically pruned only in autumn, when the plant has withered. This concerns especially the Montbretien, which must be transferred to the winter quarters. To do this, cut off all above-ground plant parts of Montbretie a few centimeters above the ground. But as long as the leaves are still green, you should refrain from it, as the plant still breathes with its leaves and thus strengthens the rhizomes in the soil with nutrients for the winter.

Otherwise you reach for secateurs...

  • ... to remove withered flower spikes regularly from the perennial.
  • ... to avoid unwanted seed formation. Blooming panicles are cut just above the foliage.
  • ... to cut blooming Montbretienrispes as vase jewelry. However, the lower flowers on the panicle should have just opened.

Pests of Montbretie are: mice and sucking insects

Montbretien tubers, like other flower bulbs, are a great food for mice. But you can protect the tubers by planting them in wire baskets that let them into the ground. Narrow-meshed "Karnickeldraht" would be an alternative. An absolute security against mouse attacks do not offer such locks, as rodents usually bypass them. Finally, live traps can help.

In addition, occasionally thrips (bladderworms) can haunt the perennial. Infested plants are usually inhibited in their growth. If thrips have attacked their crocosmia, shower the perennials with a stream of water and then treat them with a biological pesticide.

Except for root rot or tuber blight due to waterlogging, the exotic plants are relatively immune to disease.

Montbrétien hibernate

How you hibernate your Crocosmia depends on how the climatic conditions in your region are. In areas where there was a constant, mild winter, the tubers can overwinter in the ground. Withered shoots and leaves will not be removed until spring. To be on the safe side, cover the location of its exotic perennials with foliage and beyond with needle twigs.

In locations with harsh climates and heavy frosts, you should dig up the rhizomes and place them in a dark, cool but frost-free room. Leave as much soil on the tubers as possible to protect the sensitive side shoots (Stolon) from drying out. Stolons are important for the flowering shrub. From them sprout the flower spikes in the following year.

Important: Store only healthy tubers. Diseased or infected with pests rhizomes but you out the same and dispose of them with the household waste.

Summary: Montbretien not only have a nostalgic character in the garden, they are also very popular because of their shrubby habit and graceful flower form. Sunny and sheltered places love the plant. Likewise a permeable garden floor. In summer you should keep the Crocosmia moist regularly. With a slow-release fertilizer you fill the nutrient depot in the soil sufficiently in the spring. Pay attention: A winter protection is appropriate depending on the climatic conditions of individual regions.

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