Colchicum Patrol: Week 1

– Posted in: Colchicums, What's up/blooming

My longtime readers know I have a “thing” for colchicums. Their botanical weirdness–blooming in fall without leaves, which show up in spring and die down in July–fascinates me, yes. But when you have as many different kinds as I do, it is just plain fun to go out on “colchicum patrol” to see what’s come up since yesterday. This year, I decided to take you along. Here’s what I’ve discovered in the past week.(If I’ve written about a particular colchicum before, you will find it linked to in the text. Follow the link for more info and pictures.)

Colchicum autumnale looks delicate, but it's tough.

Colchicum autumnale looks delicate, but it’s tough.

These blooms (above) emerged on September 3rd and were blooming by the 5th. They win the prize for first-to-bloom.
Colchicum byzantinum 'Innocence'

Colchicum byzantinum ‘Innocence’

‘Innocence’ is also known as ‘Album’. I don’t know where my original ‘Innocence’ went to. I am not sure if I somehow lost them when we moved, or if I inadvertently gave them all away, but I bought this one last year from Daffodils and More.
Colchicum Disraeli is strongly checkered

Colchicum ‘Disraeli’ is strongly tessellated (checkered).

I acquired ‘Disraeli’ last year, also from Daffodils and More.
'Beaconsfield' just may be my most deeply colored colchicum

‘Beaconsfield’ just may be my most deeply colored colchicum

I have wanted ‘Beaconsfield’ ever since I saw it in Autumn Bulbs by Rod Leeds. There are lots of colchicums I’d never heard of (or seen) in that book.

Okay, some of these flowers hadn’t opened all the way yet. That just means you’ll get to see them next week, too.

More Colchicum Patrols

Only two days left! Don’t forget to take my reader survey if you haven’t already done so. It will help me decide what to write about in the next twelve months. The survey is limited to the first 99 respondents and will close on September 10th. I only have 41 respondents so far, so please share you thoughts through this survey. I really appreciate you helping me out.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Donna@Gardens Eye View September 14, 2013, 10:46 pm

I love these flowers but have not seen mine emerging yet.

Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern September 10, 2013, 10:04 am

I need to grow some of these! I love surprises in the garden. And they must be hardy enough for me if they’re hardy enough for you!

Kathy Purdy September 10, 2013, 2:18 pm

A lot are rated to zone 5. I think improving drainage improves the success rate. If you are zone 4 I would plant them on the deep side but in free draining soil.

Frank September 10, 2013, 9:20 am

Can I join the colchicum fan club too? I have a couple starting just this week, and I’m always happy to see them return. I thought they were foolproof until I moved them to what I thought was a better spot… they’ve been hit or miss ever since. My yard is so dry right now, to see them bursting into life is so refreshing.

vwgarden September 9, 2013, 3:01 pm

My first Colchicum popped up the last week of August. I’m not sure what type it is, though. Colchicums ARE really fun flowers! I ordered the double white form for this fall. My C. cilicicum made lots of seeds this spring and I scattered them around. I wonder how successful they’ll be.

Gail September 9, 2013, 1:05 pm

I love them and have since I met them blooming on the counter in my then (20 yrs ago) favorite nursery. They’re beautiful. I am pretty sure the one that’s blooming at my house is C ‘Autumnale’.

Shenandoah Kepler September 9, 2013, 9:19 am

I wonder if they would do well in our zone 7a garden. We love surprise lilies or naked ladies as they are called around here. They leaf in the spring and have already flowered about a month ago. I will look some varieties up and see if they might fit. Thanks for your lovely photos of them!

Kathy Purdy September 10, 2013, 2:17 pm

I know they are growing for some friends in Tennessee. Generally in your zone it would be clay soil that kills them, not heat.

Frances September 9, 2013, 6:04 am

The patrol is on here, as well, but so far, nothing is showing. It is thanks to you that I even grow Colchicums at all. You could be called Kathy Colchicum-seed! HA

Kathy Purdy September 9, 2013, 9:02 am

Or Kathy the Colchicum Evangelist, converting mere gardeners into colchicophiles.

Carol - May Dreams Gardens September 9, 2013, 5:44 am

I’m also on patrol, but my colchicums only come up in one spot so I don’t have to go far to see them… and they came from you! Since they were a passalong plant I shouldn’t say “thank you” for them as that might cause them to perish. Instead I’ll say they look wonderful in my garden and I am reminded of you whenever they bloom.

Charlie@Seattle Trekker September 9, 2013, 12:05 am

They are amazing plants, and I do appreciate any plant that can flower in the fall.