If you’re starting to get the blues that your garden is winding down, here is something you might want to consider. Perk up your garden with some fall-blooming flowers. There are several fall-flowering plant varieties that you can plant now or in the near future that will bloom in a few weeks. They bloom when very little is going on in your garden.
Here are some of our favorites:
Colchicum – While these flowers are sometimes referred to as Autumn Crocus they are not really crocus. They are also known as Naked Ladies or Meadow Saffron. They both grow from bulbs that are called corms but the Colchicum corms are larger. The flowers on these two plants are different too. Colchicum flowers are larger and each corm produces 5 to 10 stalks with each stalk bearing a single flower. Crocus blooms are more delicate and have few blooms. Colchicums prefer well-drained soil that doesn't dry out in summer, and they need shade where summers are hot. These flowers also naturalize easily, so they will come back year after year. They look great planted in your perennial garden. The Colchicum bulbs will tolerate the cold better. They are hardy for zones 4 – 10.
Here are some of our favorite Colchicum species:
- Colchicum speciosum 'Album' – This plant has large vase-shaped white flower blooms that are bright and crisp in the fall. They are easy to grow. In the spring, you will see large clumps of leaves that will vanish in the middle of the summer. The flowers come in the fall.
- Colchicum 'Waterlily' – The pretty flowers on this plant are lilac-pink and have double vase-shaped blooms. The flowers can be cut and last up to 10 days in water. With this variety, you again see the clumps of leaves in the spring. The leaves are also deer resistant.
- Colchicum speciosum – Another great variety with the same shaped flower blooms as the other species. The flowers are sometimes bi-colored and you will find the flowers are pink, purple, and white. When they are bi-colored the center is white and they have golden stamens. Take note that these flowers are poisonous to a critter that might eat them.
Autumn Crocus - These flowers will add spring colors to your garden in the fall. They are similar to crocus plants that bloom in the spring. These flowers are technically part of the iris family and there are around a dozen different varieties. The flowers on these plants have a goblet-shape.
Here are some of our favorite Autumn Crocus species:
- Crocus pulchellus – Pulchellus means pretty. The flower is a pale lilac with purple veins and a small yellow throat. This variety is native to Turkey, Greece and the Balkans geography. Crocus pulchellus naturalize easily. They grow 4 to 6 inches tall. It is also known as the hairy crocus.
- Crocus kotschyanus – These globe-shaped blooms come in a variety of colors including pinks, purples, and white. Plant them in full sun to half sun/half shade. They are easy to grow and can be planted in containers. They will grow 4 inches. They are hardy for zones 6 – 10.
Saffron Crocus - This crocus actually produces saffron which you can use in cooking in such dishes as paella, saffron rice. It is also used in many other Mediterranean or Asia dishes. Saffron crocus have beautiful lilac-purple blooms that product three red stigmas, which is the Saffron. These flowers will bloom between September and January, depending on where you live. Plant these bulbs in moist well-drained soil in either full or partial sun. They grow 3 – 6 inches tall. Hardiness zones 6 – 10.
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