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COLCHICUM autumnale 'Atropurpureum'

Image of Colchicum autumnale 'Atropurpureum'

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

COLCHICUM autumnale 'Atropurpureum'

Plant Common Name

Autumn Crocus, Meadow Saffron, Naked Ladies

General Description

One of the relatively few hardy "bulbs" to bloom late in the growing season, this cheerful perennial plant is certain to brighten the garden. A native of southeastern Europe, it grows from small globular corms (condensed underground stems) covered with papery tunics. The decorative, lance-shaped green leaves appear in early spring, providing nourishment for the corm before withering in late spring. In late summer, white buds emerge from the ground, maturing to deep reddish-purple flowers that create an unexpected but alluring display. They open wide in sun to reveal a central cluster of yellow stamens. Although often called "autumn crocus", it is unrelated to its namesake.

The corms of autumn crocus are usually available for a short period in summer, when they should be planted in a fertile, humus-rich soil in full to partial sun. Often they are planted among evergreen groundcovers such as ivy, creeping juniper, or asiatic jasmine, so that they are all but forgotten until their joyful flowering in autumn. They are also great to use in dish gardens and alpine troughs, or in meadows, lawns, or shrub borders.

All parts of this plant are poisonous, so place it where it won't be confused with edible plants or handled by children.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4"-6" / 10.2cm - 15.2cm

  • Width

    4"-12" / 10.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Eastern Europe, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Purple, Magenta

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Alpine, Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No