A giant of a species from South Africa. Late to flower, Crocosmia paniculata produces large upright clumps with exotic-looking pleated leaves.
The flower-buds are formed on herringbone stems and with their deep purple bases, and brighter tips they rather remind me of burning embers. They open to reveal extremely long, tubular, orange-brown flowers on held sideways in opposite directions, in a zig-zag fashion. If you look down the end of each flower you will see a reddish band down the middle of each petal.
In the wild, Crocosmia paniculata is pollinated by sunbirds, and each bloom is exactly the same shape and length and the beak of these wonderful birds. Unfortunately you will not find these birds in the UK but you can enjoy the plant! It forms a large clump so best at the back of the border, and relishes an open sunny position to flower well.
If you have the space, Crocosmia paniculata is a true masterpiece.