Colchicums make for impressive displays

Colchicums make for impressive displays

 

The outsized flowers are colchicums, the small ones fall-flowering crocuses. Both bloom in late summer and early autumn, the exact time depending on the season and the variety. Q. In past years early in the fall, I’ve noticed crocus-like flowers blooming in a few gardens. Some have small blooms, much like the usual early spring crocuses. Others have huge crocus-like flowers.

Very impressive. Do you know what

these flowers are, and where they can be purchased? A. The outsized flowers are colchicums, the small ones fall-flowering crocuses. Both bloom in late summer and early autumn, the exact time depending on the season and the variety. Both grow from corms, purchased in late summer and planted right away. The corms appear in garden centres any time after mid-August, when shipping from wholesale suppliers begins. Both flowers are lovely additions to garden beds. The blooms pop rather surprisingly out of the soil, most unaccompanied by foliage, which is produced in the spring. Colchicums, in time, form clumps that produce an impressively showy display. Commonly available among fall-blooming crocuses are Crocus zonatus in rosy lilac and C. sativus, the lavender-purple saffron crocus whose bright orange stigmas are dried and ground to yield the world’s most expensive spice. C. speciosus, a personal favourite fall crocus, bears exquisite lilac flowers. Plant the corms in full sun, 7.5 cm deep and 10 cm apart. Most colchicums form large, chalice-shaped flowers in pink, lilac, purple or white. Waterlily has large double flowers in pink. In my garden, the colchicum with the most classic single, goblet shape is The Giant, whose rosy-violet blooms measure at least 15 cm across. Story continues below Plant colchicums in a sunny site with consistently moist soil, where the plants can remain undisturbed for years. Set the corms 10 cm deep and 15 to 20 cm apart. Take care not to leave the large corms, which are poisonous, within the reach of children. Planting the corms of both flowers in low-growing ground covers helps to keep the blooms clean and […]

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