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Fall Crocus for Our Gardens

Fall Crocus for Our Gardens

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Published by Barbara E. Volkov
Planting fall crocus in late summer will produce beautiful naked boys or meadow saffron the following fall. The varieties that are grown in the United States only grow to 6 inches tall so are better if planted with low-growing ferns or ground cover.
Planting fall crocus in late summer will produce beautiful naked boys or meadow saffron the following fall. The varieties that are grown in the United States only grow to 6 inches tall so are better if planted with low-growing ferns or ground cover.

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Published by: Barbara E. Volkov on Sep 16, 2010
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05/25/2012

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Gardeners Garden Supplies Home Garden Tools and Gardening Accessories

Fall Crocus for Our Gardens
Autumn crocus, fall crocus, naked boys, and meadow saffron are some common names for the same beautiful flowers. The botanical name of colchicum hybrids, species, and cultivars or fall crocus’ bloom time is in late summer and into the fall. Planting time for these irregular shaped colchicum bulbs is in late summer as soon as you get your hands on them. If you wait before planting them you just might find that some of the flowers have already started to bloom inside the packaging. They need to be planted approximately 4 to 5 inches deep in fertile soil that is well-drained in the sun or partial shade. Colchicums can tolerate drought throughout the summer months but could possibly rot if your soil stays too wet. If landscape planting is done under a specimen shrub or tree, you may want to mass the bulbs so they bloom after you have removed the summer annuals, but be careful not to disturb the corms when you plant the annuals. The foliage needs to fit into all the plans you have made for spring. The blossoms of the crocus need to be protected from slugs because they enjoy feeding on them. After many of the other flower blossoms have faded out the autumn crocus will be producing their blossoms so you want them in an area where they will stand out. If you start out planting only a few crocus corms, after only a few years you will end up with drifts or sweeps of color throughout the entire flower bed. We may not be very fond of ants but these tiny creatures carry and spread the crocus seeds so naturalizing the garden will not take very long. It is also a good idea to provide ground cover such as European wild ginger, low junipers, or bishops for a visual backdrop and support for these naked flowers and their fragile flower tubes.

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Gardeners Garden Supplies Home Garden Tools and Gardening Accessories

Some companion plants for the fall blooming crocus are some low ferns, such as Himalayan maidenhair fern of European lady fern. You can also try a fall color scheme using autumn crocus and some dark-leaved species of coral bells. Colchicum or saffron crocus will produce white, deep pink, lilac-purple, or violet flowers in the late days of summer and into autumn when very few blooms are left in the garden. They contrast quite well with some of the other colors of autumn and are best if able to grow through some type of ground cover, such as the low-growing ferns or some blue leadwort. Their foliage will appear in the spring and they are resistant to deer and drought. There is one thing to keep in mind, every part of a fall crocus is poisonous if ingested. Some will experience a skin irritation if they plant the saffron crocus without any protection to the hands or skin. If you plant them this summer you will not see any flowers until the following fall but you will see the foiliage appearing in the spring.

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