Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Colchicums - The Other Fall Crocus

When Mom and I first visited Schedel Arboretum and Gardens in the fall of 2007, we came upon a beautiful ground flower that resembled giant crocuses. We'd not seen any like them in person before, but I'd recently seen photos of and read about Colchicums, and was pretty sure that's what they were.

are sometimes known as "Fall Crocus," though they aren't crocuses at all. While I do have a true fall crocus growing and blooming here (Crocus kotschyanus), I'd not ever invested in Colchicums. I say "invested" because they aren't the cheapest bulb you can buy for the garden. But this fall, Park Seed had some for about four dollars each (including shipping), so I bought nine.

The ideal time for planting Colchicums is late in August, but I wasn't passing up this opportunity to own these beauties. (Plant them 5" deep in a dry location and give them good drainage.) The 'Water Lily' bulbs arrived at the end of September and I got them planted. Some had anemic buds beginning, but I didn't expect to see those finish out by blooming in my garden this fall.

A few weeks ago, I was walking through the garden and don't you know, those Colchicums were blooming!

Colchicum 'Water Lily'

They've been an attention-getter as more leaves fall and their glowing lavender petals shine through the drab brown carpet of leaves. Each bloom measures 4-5 inches across. I'd say my money was well-spent and next year the show should be even better.

Oh, and there's one more thing to like about Colchicums: Squirrels, rabbits and deer don't like them.


Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

I bet wildlife doesn't like them because they are seriously poisonous. Do you have any suggestions about what they look good with? My brother sent me a whole bunch of bulbs but I have no idea what to combine them with.

Kathy said...

The individual bulbs are expensive but I've found that they multiply pretty well.

Jim Groble said...

Thanks for the heads up on Schedel Arbretum and Gardens. We'll visit in the spring. The colchicums pic is cool.

Kerri said...

Someday I must plant some. I especially love the waterlily colchicums. Gorgeous!
Thanks for stopping by. There aren't many blooms left now, just a few hardy hangers on.
We had a dusty of snow this morning and more is predicted for overnight.
It's cold and wet out there!
I'm going to try your pumpkin Torte. Sounds delicious!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I used to have some of these fall crocus in my garden but I dug them up. Geez. I hate it when I do that. These are so pretty.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

These fall bloomers are sure great! What a find to get some from Park Seed so inexpensively.

Kylee Baumle said...

Fern ~ I have a low-growing sedum that I planted some of these in. In other places, they're at the base of some smaller trees and at the front edge of some beds where they come up through the mulch.

Kathy ~ That's good to know. I hope mine multiply bunches!

Jim ~ You're in for a real treat at Schedel!

Kerri ~ Good to see you! We're enjoying nice warm weather for a bit!

Lisa ~ Get some more! :-)

Janet ~ I feel lucky to have found them. :-)

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