Colchicum or autumn crocus are the heralds of autumn, helping create spectacular late-summer displays of leafless goblet-shaped blossoms in pink, violet and white and now is the time to time plant them.
While some species flower in late winter, we mainly grow those that flower in autumn, which look ravishing in gaps among other low-growing perennials in a sunny, or semi-shaded position.
They are useful for dotting among areas that are covered in ivy or other lightly-shaded woodland areas, or gravel gardens. And pop them into gaps in seasonal pots for a sudden splash of vibrant colour.
Sheaves of foliage 25-30cm (10in-1ft) high appear in late winter, and although this can be a bit unsightly you should allow this to wither naturally to help develop new corms for next year’s display.
Colchicum are adaptable. They grow in any moist, well-drained soil, with the smaller species and varieties ideal for naturalising in turf beneath trees and taller shrubs.
Colchicum will flower in shade, but the leaves need more sunlight, so bulbs will gradually fade away if the area is too gloomy. Remember all parts of the bulb are toxic, so take care and wear gloves when handling them. Ensure that there are no grazing animals allowed access to the foliage or flowers.