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Growing colchicums

Posted: Monday 7 October 2013
by James Alexander-Sinclair

This is a naked lady. Not, I am sure you realise, in a Page Three sense, but because it is a fine example of the autumn Crocus or Colchicum autumnale.


Naked lady

This is a naked lady. Not, I am sure you realise, in a Page Three sense, but because it is a fine example of the autumn crocus or Colchicum autumnale.

They have earned this mildly salacious common name because the flowers appear before the leaves and always look a little embarrassed. This should not, however, deter you from growing them, as their appearance in late September always gives us a rather refreshing surprise - just when you thought that the garden had given all that it had to give, poof! Up pop the naked ladies, like the encore at a burlesque club.

They are pretty undemanding plants with corms thriving in any soil, unless waterlogged. They also naturalise well in grass which is particularly effective as they pop up just as the grass begins to stop growing for the winter months. They can be propagated quite easily from seed sown under glass or by separating the corms during the summer while they are dormant.

One final thought: they are extraordinarily poisonous. Eating any part of the plant will, apparently, lead to “a long lingering death with consciousness remaining until the very end!”

Just in case you were tempted...





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valerie270 14/10/2013 at 16:31

And also very very poisonous to cats please beware-I speak from experiencešŸ˜„