Planting autumn crocus, colchicium and hardy amaryllis

April 19, 2013 – 08:03 am

Colchiciums Colchiciums

September is the time of the year when the gardener would like some reassurance that spring will come again even as we gather in the harvest of fall.

Fall blooming crocus, colchicium, hardy amaryllis

Fall blooming crocus, colchicium and hardy amaryllis bulbs offer this reassurance. As the fall days shorten and the temperatures moderate, these bulbs offer a surprise, since they bloom without warning. One day the earth is bare and the next these bulbs produce their blossoms without a sign of a leaf.

Colchiciums

Colchiciums are referred to as giant fall blooming crocus, but are members of the lily family rather than crocus.

Their flowers are about the size of a goblet with petals of varying shades from white to pink with white throats to deep purple-mauve.

Each corm produces multiple blossoms and last for two to three weeks. Once colonized, they make quite a display in the fall garden. You can expect to pay from $3 to $6 a bulb.

You won’t find these offered through a local dealer because they have a short shelf life. If not planted immediately upon arrival, they bloom on your counter or windowsill.

Colchicium culture

Plant the bulbs three to four-inches deep in well-prepared soil. Like most fall-planted bulbs they like a fertilizer that is 5-10-5.

They will do well under a tree if it isn’t too greedy for water. I have two colonies under a maple tree that receives water a couple of times a month during the summer.

Colchiciums like the smaller true autumn crocus come from an alpine area. Their growth habit has created a plant that puts out large strap leaves in the spring when moisture is plentiful and then dies back. After a dry summer, the fall rains trigger the blossom cycle.

The colchicium’s strap leaves are not overlooked in the spring garden and must be allowed to mature and die without removal if you want fall bloom.

I don’t spray close to them with the herbicides Roundup or Poast. When, by accident, I drenched some leaves, I quickly took a bucket of water to wash it off, but I wasn’t quick enough to save it.

Fall-blooming crocus

Fall-blooming crocus also need to be planted as soon as they arrive on your doorstep. If making a mixed order for spring and fall varieties, ask for your fall crocus and colchiciums to be sent early.

Source: www.greenknees.net


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