Colchicum autumnale

autumn crocus

  • © Richard W. Hartlage / Great Plant Picks

  • © - Manfred Brückels

  • © - Franz Xaver

Outstanding Qualities

In early autumn large vase-shaped lavender-pink blooms burst from the ground to provide a splash of brilliant color. This enduring bulb has broad strappy and shiny green foliage in late winter through spring, but goes dormant for the summer. Then, before the leaves emerge again, the flowers push through the soil and bloom in late September to early October. Although commonly referred to as autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale is not closely related to true crocus.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: bulb

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 1 ft. 0 in. (0.30 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 0 ft. 6 in. (0.15 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9

Flower Color: lavender

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established

Seasonal Interest: autumn flowers

Wildlife Associations: bees

Resistant to: deer

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: black, silver, dark green

Great Color Partners: rose, lavender, pink

Culture Notes
Autumn crocus grows best in well-drained soil with full sun. When it blooms it has no leaves, so planting it next to a smaller groundcover will help to support the flower. In winter the strappy green leaves appear and can be cut back in early summer once they start to yellow.