FALL CROCUS Colchicum speciosum

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Colchicum speciosum is a vigorous grower and does well in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soils in most climates. It is valued in gardens for its late flowering at the end of summer and into autumn.

Colchicum speciosum is a species of flowering plant in the family Colchicaceae, native to mountainous areas of northern Turkey, the Caucasus and northern Iran. Growing to 18 cm (7 in) tall by 10 cm (4 in) wide, it is an herbaceous perennial growing from corms. C. speciosum blooms in the fall, producing reddish/violet flowers on stems up to 30 centimetres (12 in) tall without any leaves present. The strap-like leaves grow in the spring, then yellow, wither and die back as summer progresses. The flowers strongly resemble those of the crocus, the familiar spring-flowering bulb; hence the common name autumn crocus which is applied to this and other colchicum species.

Note: Ornamental use only. Many plants have poisonous parts, these included. These seeds and plants are poisonous.

Hardiness zones: 5-9

Seeds per pack: 3

Germination: As with many perennials, these seeds require a period of moist cold to help them grow. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:

Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Place the seeds just under the surface of your growing medium, and water. Place your container in a cold area (but not freezing, perhaps a refrigerator) for 6-8 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Seedlings will sprout a few weeks, or occasionally several months, after the warming period.

Alternatively, these seeds can also be planted outdoors in fall or winter, while temperatures are cold (but ground is workable) to germinate naturally in spring. Be sure to mark the area where you planted them, and that the soil is consistently moist. Patience is needed, but they are well worth the wait!


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