Plant of the Moment: Colchicum

This week’s plant of the moment is Colchicum, though to be honest I have several plants that I would like to do a post on but I was so surprised to see the Colchicum had flowered that it is now my pride and joy.

I bought my bulb last year at the Malvern Autumn Show, which is on again this weekend.  It was one of those impulse buys and I was a little dubious as the bulb was already in flower but was sold unplanted if you see what I mean.  I treated it like some rare orchid when I got home and planted it carefully in a pot with some moss around its stem to set off the flower.  After it had flowered I kind of forgot about it until the spring when a guilty voice reminded me that I really needed to do something especially as a grub thing seemed to be taking up residence in the pot.  In my haste to find a new home for the bulb I decided it needed somewhere where it was unlikely I would accidentally dig it up and I assumed that it wouldn’t mind a big of sun.  I now discover that it likes deep moisture retentive soil!!  My soil has a lot of clay in it and so retains the moisture despite sometimes baking in the sun.

Anyway last weekend I was walking past the border and something low and pale winked at me.  Looking down I saw that the Colchicum had returned and was flowering away – one flower was out and a second was in bud.  They do look a little strange as there are no leaves which I expect is why they are sometimes called ‘Naked Ladies’.  I think the variety I have is Colchicum autumnale and no those aren’t thistle weeds either side of it but Morina longifolia.

So its off to the Autumn show this weekend and Colchicums will not be an impulse buy this year but at the top of my shopping list along with some Camassias for the bank.

12 Comments on “Plant of the Moment: Colchicum

  1. Hi Helen, I started with colchicums last year also, and love their sweet little floppy faces. I do dislike that nickname, how about meadow saffron instead 🙂

  2. Mine are flowering too. Every year they are a surprise because I don’t notice them until they open. I need to divide my double ones but keep putting it off in case they take the huff and die on me!

  3. Dear Helen, I am afraid to say that I can never really take to Colchicum. Although yours is lovely, they always seem to me to be rather weak and floppy and, unless totally suited to their conditions, painfully slow to increase. Camassias on the other hand……….those I should buy on impulse by the lorry load. Perfectly lovely!

  4. Dear Helen, Frances and I were talking about Malvern today~remembering how cold we were and how happy we were to discover the felted wool sweater booth! Wonderful memories~thank you! Have a good time at the show. I love cochicums and they are finally blooming here. I want more, too! gail

  5. I’m undecided about Colchicums, I’ve just read the RHS cultivation requirements and there are 2 groups needing entirely different conditions; so I could find the ones that need sharp drainage is a sunny position. I think the problem would be I’d foreget where I’d planted them. I love the close-up photo.

  6. Oh, my, you’re in for it. A case of acute Colchicumitis has hit, and soon you’ll be hunting out the rarer species and harder to find cultivars. I love them, even their foliage, which many gardeners find difficult and untidy.

  7. Great close-up of the Colchicum! I think they look best when they are en masse and are fun to see this time of year. reminds me of the first days of spring…(sigh)

    • Generally in the Autumn. You can buy the bulbs from bulb merchants. I bought mine at malvern Autumn show, they are often in flower when you buy them and you just plant them.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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