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Although often called autumn crocus, colchicums are not related to true crocuses. There are winter- and spring-flowering species, but the most common ones bloom in September and October. They flower when least expected, the large blooms suddenly appearing from the bare earth without any leaves – hence the common name naked ladies.
Colchicum 'Waterlily' bears dramatic, double pink-purple flowers similar to water lilies. The large, floppy foliage grows in spring and is best if hidden by shrubs and herbaceous plants. It's ideal for naturalising in grass or at the front of a sunny border.
All parts of the plant are poisonous, so wear gloves when handling the bulbs.
Plant type: Summer/autumn blooming bulb
Flower colour: Lilac
Foliage colour: Mid-green
Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade, Shade
Soil: Well-drained/light, Acidic, Chalky/alkaline
Skill level: Beginner
Time to divide plants: September to October
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