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Colchici and crocus
Crocus and colchici They are perennial bulbous plants that produce very similar flowers, although belonging to two different genera; the main difference between the two varieties is in the age of flowering: in fact the crocuses produce their small flowers at the end of winter, while the colchici of the most widespread species bloom in autumn. Furthermore, the crocuses are smaller and of various colors, from yellow to white, from pink to lilac; the colchici instead produce flowers always in the shades of pink.
The crocuses are small plants that have small bulb-tubers, about 3-5 cm in diameter; they are present in nature in Asia and in Europe and even in the Italian forests we can see some of the approximately one hundred species spread in the wild. they are very easy to grow bulbous, in fact they do not fear the winter cold, and since in summer they are in complete vegetative rest they do not even fear the summer heat or drought. Each bulb-tuber produces one or two cup-shaped flowers, about 5-10 cm tall; at the same time as the flowers the corm also produces small linear leaves, arched, dark green, slightly arched, characterized by a central white grain. The flowers of these bulbous plants exist white, golden yellow, or violet, and variegated flower varieties are also available.
In the garden it is advisable to cultivate them in full ground, placing them at a depth equal to their diameter, in soft and light soil; It is possible to grow them as a border, but more often they are placed in the turf or in the flower beds by randomly spreading them, so that their flowering at the end of winter reminds that which occurs in the woods.
It is possible to grow these bulbous plants even in a vase, but it is advisable to repot the corms every autumn, to space them out and to provide fresh soil.
Every corm over the years produces new small plants.
The colchicum most widespread in Europe и Colchicum autumnale, it is a medium-sized bulbous plant, whose bulb has a diameter of about 5-12 cm; it develops in wet areas, with soil rich in humus, fresh and deep. In spring it produces large fleshy leaves, light green, lanceolate, 20-30 cm long; in summer the leaves dry out completely and in autumn from the bulb 4-5 large cupped flowers bloom, of pink or white color.
These bulbous plants are suitable for growing and can also be grown in pots. Each part of the plant is however highly toxic, the colchicine contained in them is an alkaloid used, in minimal doses, as a drug; if ingested all parts of the plant can cause vomiting, nausea, increased heart rate.
The cultivation of these plants with such a similar appearance is very simple, in fact they develop in spring and autumn, when the humid climate helps us with watering; in fact, in general colchici and crocus, if placed in the ground, do not require special care. In case of cultivation in pots, or of particularly dry periods, it is advisable to water the plants when the soil should remain dry for prolonged periods of time, in autumn or spring. During the summer it is not necessary to water the plants, even in hot and dry summers.
If desired, it is possible to fertilize the bulbs, when the leaves are present, using fertilizer for flowering plants, possibly in the form of a slow release granular fertilizer, to be spread near the plants.
Colchici and Crocus: And those yellow crocuses I see in the fall?
It often happens to see in autumn, in the gardens or in the wild meadows, large flowers similar to crocus or colchic, of golden color, which bloom in bunches, among linear fleshy leaves, of dark green color. It is not a matter of one variety or another; we are in the presence of another kind of flower, the Sternbergia. The colchici belong to the family of the Liliaceae, the crocuses to the family of the Iridaceae, while the Sternbergia are of the amaryllidaceae.