7 cm - 1,2 m
orange summer autumn
shade; semi-shade; light shade; container; damp shade; wildlife bees butterflies insects birds; narrow spaces;
wetland; woodland forest; coastal eastern cape; coastal kzn; grassland; bushveld
thicket; highveld; subtropical east coast; bushveld savanna
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Luminous Falling Stars, Crocosmia aurea, are in full bloom in March gardens. An incredibly easy species to grow, plants are often bird planted, surprising one with gorgeous late summer/ autumn colour in the shade of a tree. From mid -spring, bright green leaves push their way through the soil, rewarding the patient gardener with large, drooping orange flowers. Perhaps it is the weight of the 40 cm flowers hanging off slender stalks that give the illusion of stars falling back to the earth. Flower stalks can grow as tall as 1.2m high, often seen peeping through the foliage of other shrubs, advertising their existence with eye-catching flowers from January to June. These are soon followed by orange seed capsules containing a multitude of small purple/black hard round seeds. Those not eaten by the birds germinate with ease and are often seen growing beneath popular bird trees like the Erythrina family. Falling Stars are dormant in winter, leaves turning brown and dying down soon after the last seeds fall. Growing in large groups in the wild, they look best if planted in large numbers in light to dark shade. COMBINATIONS: plant with the orange flowering Strelitzia reginae for a bright show. To highlight their colour combine with the darker leaved shrubs (Plectranthus, Tinnea barbata, Hypoestes aristata, Metarungia longistrobus, Mackaya bella, and Ochna serrulata, for example). To create a grassy woodland group plant amongst Setaria megaphylla grass and Chlorophytum saundersiae.