Curtonus: Aunt Eliza, pleated leaves
Height 1.2m (4ft)
Planting distance 23cm (9in)
Flowers in late summer and early autumn
Corms available in autumn
Curtonus paniculatus (syn. Antholyza paniculata) is the only species in this South African genus. It is closely related to Crocosmia species, but is taller, up to 1.2m (4ft), and distinguished by its pleated, sword-shaped and mid green leaves and by the zigzagging flower stems that carry orange-red trumpets in late summer and autumn.
Once established, curtonus is hardy in all but the coldest regions and naturalizes well. Grow it in sunny mixed borders, among low shrubs or at the foot of a south-facing wall. Theare good for cutting.
Plant the corms in early autumn, setting them 15cm (6in) deep in groups of three or five spaced 23cm (9in) apart. They will grow in any well-drained soil but thrive on plenty of organic matter and in full sun, with some shelter. After flowering, trim the faded stems back but leave the foliage as protection during winter. Cut it back to the ground in spring.
Lift crowded clumps in mid autumn, separate and replant the corms, taking care that each division is complete with, roots and leaf cluster.
Pests and diseases