Colchicum Will Add Surprising Color To Your Yard

Culchicums are easy to grow and will delight you with their stunning beauty.

August 21, 2017
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When the trees around my house take on their glowing autumn tones of red, gold, and orange, I don't expect my garden to compete. Instead, I switch color palettes entirely—to pink, lilac, and white. The change showcases the lavender-pink blossoms of colchicum—a fall flower so brilliantly colored that it can draw the eye away from the spectacle in the treetops.

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Colchicum bulbs (corms, actually) are so eager to grow that they'll bloom in their bag on a garden center shelf. Planted in soil, each bulb produces five or six flowers, which last for weeks. You'll often see colchicums referred to as autumn crocus, but they're a different species entirely.

Related: 3 Ways To Prep Your Garden For Fall

Plant colchicums when the bulbs become available in August, for bloom just a few weeks later. Set them 3 to 4 inches deep, in full sun and in well-drained soil. Flowers will appear, but no leaves.

Colchicums are hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5. Cultivars include the exquisite Waterlily, which grows 6 to 8 inches tall; The Giant, which grows up to 12 inches tall with lavender-pink flowers; Violet Queen, with purple flowers, which grows up to 7 inches tall; and C. autumnale, or Album, with white flowers, which is only 4 inches tall.