Autumn Crocus

Colchicum autumnale
Colchicaceae, Colchicum Family
Autumn Crocus
Autumn Crocus
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom
Isaiah 35:1-2
Autumn Crocus
I am a rose [crocus] of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
Song of Songs 2:1

Cultural Information

TypePerennials & Bulbs
Height3 to 5 inches
Soilwell-drained, slightly sandy
Exposurefull sun to partial shade
Leavesblade-like, dark green with light, central rib running from tip to soil, appear after flowers
Flowerspetite, oval, cupped single bloom with bold, orangy-golden anthers set against paper thin petals; colors include white, yellow, pale purple

Planting Tips

  • Zones 5-9, plant in late summer or early fall for late fall blooming
  • tuck bulbs in soil 3 inches deep with pointed ends up
  • space 2 to 3 inches apart
  • keep soil moisture even until bloom
  • flowers will seem to appear all of a sudden! be sure to plant them where you will discover them, by a walkway or towards the front of a bed or border

Garden to Table

  • delicate flowers don't last in vases, so  plant pots-full to bring in as a table centerpiece
  • mass in single colors to mimic the drifts across the desert
  • there are many other crocus-looking species that bloom in the fall, from the Crocus, Colchicum and Sternbergia genera so feel free to try them all!
  • Colchicum named for Colchis, the ancient region near the Black Sea, south of the Caucasus Mountains (see )

Additional Resources

See Blog Posts on Autumn Crocus Judea the small flowers are renowned for naturalizing in dramatic drifts across the wilderness and bursting into fall bloom from summer's parched ground. As [garden author] Richard Pratt noted, the "sudden, fragile flowers" will refresh our weary August souls.
-from the NIV God's Word for Gardeners Bible
Autumn Crocus
I am a rose [crocus] of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
Song of Songs 2:1

Photo Credits

© Lianem | Autumn crocus naturalize in drifts
© Inmerk | Colchicum autumnale near Jerusalem
© 2012 Shelley S. Cramm white autumn crocus in a garden pot in late autumn sunlight
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