Fall Crocus for Beautiful Autumn Color
Meadow saffron, fall crocus, naked boys and autumn crocus are the broad names for these fall bloomers. The botanical name for fall crocus is colchicum which is not a crocus at all; it is related to the lily family. They will usually bloom in late summer into fall and some will bloom late in fall and early into winter.
The best time to plant these colchicum bulbs is shortly after you purchase them in late summer. If you put off planting them you just might find they have started to bloom inside their package which can cause some stress to the bulbs. They do best if planted four to five inches deep in fertile, well-drained soil that is in light shade or sun; you can probably get away with planting them only 3 inches deep. These cultivars can tolerate daught during the summer but if the soil lasts too wet they will rot and die over the winter months. Once the bulbs begin to blossom you will need to protect them from slugs; they like feeding on them.
Your autumn crocus will stand out after most of the other flowers have faded away. Waves or sweeps of color may sound expensive at the very beginning but planting just a few codes at first will eventually give you this effect in just a few years time. This is one good thing that ants will do and that is to carry away and spread the seeds so it will not take long for natural waves of color. It is also a good idea to provide these flowers with low ground cover such as bishops or low junipers to give them a visual backdrop and support for the delicate flower tubes.
Colchicums are best if they are planed in August but can still be planed almost anytime during the fall. A few weeks after planting these fall-blooming crocuses will sprout flowers on naked stems. Some produce double flowers about six inches across while others have smaller single flowers. Once the flowers have died out the bulbs will need protection during the winter; this can be accomplished by using a few inches of mulch or branches from evergreen plants placed over the site. In the spring foliage will sprout to collect sun and produce nutrients for the bulbs for blooming again in the fall.
The most wide grown colchicum is C. autumnale species, which may reach four to six inches tall. Some good specimens worth growing are the double "Pleniflorum '; pristine; white single flower' Album '; and double' Alboplenum 'The large-flower C. speciosum blooms in white and various shades of pinkish-purple The rosy double flower' Waterlily 'hybrid which grows to about five inches tall does well with the low growing ferns; the' Violet Queen 'has a delicate reddish-purple in a checkerboard pattern will bloom early; and the' The Giant 'with a pale white base lilac type flower can sometimes reach twelve inches high Most of these bulbs will produce a number of flowers. Fall crocus produces beautiful, bright pink, lilac, violet and white flowers in the autumn after all the summer blooms have finished. fall colors and are seen best if they have been planted among low-growing ferns and low ground cover. Some companion plants that are low growing and very attractive are the Himalayan maidenhair fern and the European lady fern. The crocus will basically have blooms on stems without any foliage; the foliage sprouts in spring and are daught-and deer-resistant.
Fall crocus are very toxic if any part is ingested. Some individuals may experience a skin irritation if they do not wear protection when they plant the bulbs. Even if you plant now and they do not bloom, just remember the foliage will sprout in the spring to provide nutrients to the bulbs for blooming in the fall.