Plant colchicum bulbs this month for an unusual and spectacular display later in the year. Our dazzling range of different varieties is now on sale at the garden centre here in Basingstoke so make sure you drop by soon to make sure you have the best choice as they’re snapped up in no time!
Colchicums are also known as autumn crocuses, or naked ladies – reflecting their habit of producing their impressive pink or white goblet-shaped blooms well before the foliage, looking like giant crocuses emerging from the soil. Confusingly, they are quite different from autumn-flowering crocuses, which flower later in the year and have much smaller, daintier blooms which look more like spring crocuses.
Colchicums make an eye-catching addition to your autumn display: plant them en masse for maximum impact, or combine them with dark-leaved plants like purple heucheras, or silvery foliage like artemisia. Among the many lovely varieties are the ever-popular Colchicum speciosum ‘Alba’ with goblets of purest white held on slender green stems; or you can go for varieties in pink or lilac instead.
For flowers year after year, colchicums need a sun-baked spot where the foliage can make plenty of food and summer heat will ripen the bulbs. Colchicum flowers open wide in the sunshine, too, so make sure they are in full sun as much as possible to enjoy those sumptuous blooms to the full.
Prepare the soil well, digging in plenty of organic matter, then dig a wide, shallow hole to comfortably accommodate the bulbs. Lightly fork over the base, breaking up any large clods of soil. Arrange the bulbs in the hole about 10cm apart so the pointed tip sits just below the surface of the soil. Then back fill with more soil, firm down gently and water in. You should have a magnificent display of sumptuous flowers within about six weeks.