Autumn Bulb SALE - Save 30%
September 16, 2014

Guess what? You CAN have almost instant gratification with bulbs. Now when I say instant I mean relatively instant. After all, we ARE talking about one of the most patience-demanding pastimes around (gardening), but if you consider a few weeks wait "instant" then I have just the thing for you: autumn-flowering bulbs.


They're ready to bloom now

Dugald Cameron

President & bulb fanatic


Unlike their spring-blooming cousins, autumn crocus produce flowers in the fall and foliage in the spring. Their flowering time can vary quite a bit, depending on weather and how long you've had them. Confused in their first season, they may not flower until a mild spell in December to February.

I've even had them frozen for weeks while in bud, before opening when there was a warmer day. Location is important. Autumn crocus work best planted in a spot that gets warm, sunny days in the fall and has good drainage during the winter and summer. Like tulips, they like a dry, baking hot summer. Unfortunately, squirrels love these as much as they do spring-blooming crocus so a generous application of hen manure after planting and again in the spring is advised.

You might get these confused with autumn crocus if you're just looking at photos. But, aside from fall flowering, they're different in just about every way. Colchicum will bloom in a week or so even if they aren't planted! The bulbs are MUCH bigger, up to the size of a hardball. They bloom earlier, usually in September. Their flowers are larger (up to 10cm (4”) across) and they're taller. They're also PEST PROOF. Nothing eats colchicum because they are deadly poisonous. Colchicum will provide great clusters of vivid bloom in early fall and will continue to do so year after year in zone 4 regions or milder. They'll bloom this fall if you order them before September.

Those of you with an interest in genetics may recognize these as the source of Colchicine, an extract from colchicum bulbs that enabled the creation of the first tetraploid plants, via a process that multiplies the number of genes in a cell. Sounds boring until you realize this enabled Canada's famous Triticale wheat and many wonderful ornamental plants. Fear not, this isn't GMO voodoo, just basic genetics. Just be careful when handling and, as with everything in your garden, don't eat it unless it's recognized as edible.

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