Growing Montbretia for Cut flowers

Montbretia produce long, narrow leaves and gracefully arching flower-spikes from June onwards, making decorative plants of elegant growth.

Where happy, the corms freely increase by means of strong, wiry roots which run under the soil, forming new corms at intervals. When much close growth has been made, the clumps should be lifted and divided. This is best done in the early spring, covering the corms with 3 in. of soil.

Of the older sorts, the following are particularly reliable: M. crocosmaeflora, 2 ½-3 ft high and producing masses of orange-red flowers on well-branched spikes; M. pottsii, a reliable sort of the same height, with graceful spikes of vermilion shading to yellow; and ‘Etoile de Feu’, deep glowing red, with golden centre, often attaining 3 ½ ft.

Montbretia

M. prometheus, a vigorous grower, has large, open, spreading flowers of golden-orange with red markings, while Montbretia or Tritonia rosea is a specially charming variety, attracting attention wherever seen. It grows about 2 ft high and has elegant flowers of pretty soft rose-pink, tubular flowers. The dainty spikes of bloom, combined with its elegant foliage, make it an altogether desirable sort. There are many other good varieties offered by bulb-growers. August and September are good months to plant, although they are often put in as late as November. The bulbs are covered with 4 in. of soil, except in the case of miniatures, and the best effect is obtained by planting groups of three or more bulbs of one variety rather than a

Of comparatively recent introduction, the new Earlham, large-flowered hybrid montbretias, are a great advance on the older types in every way, being taller and stronger in growth, with larger flowers, which often measure 3-4 in. in diameter. Always decorative in the border, they are first class for cutting.

Given a deep, well-drained, loamy soil to which leaf soil has been added, fresh plantings of these large-flowered montbretias should be made in February or March. A surface covering of leaf mould or peat fibre not only gives some immediate protection, but also provides a summer mulch which will be of great value later in the year. When established, the Earlham varieties are hardy, although an annual mulching is helpful.

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