Colchicum (group)

Common Name: autumn crocus 
Type: Bulb
Family: Colchicaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: September to October
Bloom Description: Pink to white to lavender
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plant corms 3" deep and 6" apart in August for bloom the same year in fall. If necessary, dig and divide during the mid-summer dormant period.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Autumn crocus is so named because most varieties bloom in fall (some bloom in late summer however). Plants send up somewhat unattractive foliage (4-6 dark green leaves) in spring that gradually yellows and dies by summer when the plants go dormant. Naked flower stems rise from the ground to 6-10" tall in fall bearing pink to lavender-pink star-shaped flowers. Some double-flowered hybrid cultivars are available. Spring crocus is in the iris family, but fall crocus is in its own family (Colchicaceae).

Genus name come from the abundance of the plant in Colchis, the Black Sea region of Georgia, Caucasus.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for slugs and snails. Weak flower stems tend to flop.

Garden Uses

Meadows, woodlands beds. Good for pockets in the landscape where spring and summer plants are fading. Good around patios or along walks. Plant with low ground covers which may help support weak flower stems. Generally inappropriate for prominent parts of beds or borders because of the unsightly appearance of the spring foliage as it yellows and declines on its way toward summer dormancy.