The common name for crocosmia, the hardy perennial that is a native South African plant, is montbretia or falling stars. A relative of the iris, crocosmia has spear shaped leaves and a long flower stalk with a colorful blossom spike that makes it ideal as a cut flower or an addition to landscapes.
Although crocosmia plants predominately are grown by planting corms and the division of existing plants, the plant is also established by seed. Under natural conditions, the seed pods will dry and open, allowing the wind to carry the seeds to new locations. Gardeners can also gather or purchase crocosmia seeds to cultivate plants.
Seed pods will form along the flower stalk of a crocosmia where the blossoms once bloomed. When the pods naturally dry, they burst open to reveal bright reddish-orange colored seeds. Each pod will contain three or four seeds that appear fleshy when fresh.
The visual effect of crocosmia stems full of seed pods and seeds are frequently used in both fresh cut and dried flower arrangements to add texture and interest. Multiple pods are attached to gracefully arched, dry stems. Within the open pods are the crocosmia seeds, which become glossy with age and range in color from crimson or coffee to green and terra cotta. If left in the natural state on the stem, crocosmia pods and seeds can last indefinitely.
Crocosmia seeds should be sown either directly where the plant will be grown or in pots large enough to accommodate the seedlings for up to a year. Crocosmia seeds germinate slower than many other plant seeds, taking anywhere from three to nine weeks. Freshly harvested seeds germinate more successfully than dried or older seeds. Thinning may be needed once the seedlings appear, but the small plants are sensitive to transplanting and may not survive early re-planting.
Crocosmia plants grown from seeds, instead of corms, will not bloom for the first year, and may not bloom for two years. An established crocosmia plant is a very hardy perennial that can withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit, though it will benefit from a thick mulch winter covering. Crocosmia plants have been known to become invasive as the corms split and divide annually, and the seeds drop and germinate.