Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Order your Colchicums Now

août 26
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The colchicum (often falsely called autumn crocus, which is a very different bulb) is a beautiful autumn-flowering bulb that is hardy from zones 4 to 8, even zone 3 if the sector enjoys good snow cover. The spectacular flowers do indeed resemble giant crocuses, although they belong to an entirely different family. Curiously, they emerge from the ground without foliage, creating a particularly stunning effect. The leaves only appear the following spring, at the same time as the leaves of other hardy bulbs, then disappear in the summer. You plant colchicums in September… and the flowers bloom only a few days later. Over time, the colony will multiply and you can divide them to fill your flowerbeds with these beautiful flowers.

You will not find colchicums in most garden centers, however. Stores haven’t the faintest idea how to handle these bulbs which should be planted as soon as they arrive, otherwise the start to bloom on the shelf (yes, with no soil at all!). That being the case, you have little choice but to order them by mail. They will then be delivered in September just at the right time to plant them. In the US, try In Canada, try, or Elsewhere, check the Internet for a bulb source near you.

Garden writer and blogger, author of more than 60 gardening books, the laidback gardener, Larry Hodgson, lives and gardens in Quebec City, Canada. The Laidback Gardener blog offers more than 2,500 articles to passionate home gardeners, always with the goal of demystifying gardening and making it easier for even novice gardeners. If you have a gardening question, enter it in Search: the answer is probably already there!

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