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PlantFiles: False Autumn Crocus, Showy Colchicum, Naked Ladies, Meadow Saffron
Colchicum 'The Giant'

Family: Colchicaceae
Genus: Colchicum (KOHL-chik-um) (Info)
Cultivar: The Giant

One vendor has this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Good Fall Color

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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By Evert
Thumbnail #1 of Colchicum  by Evert

By Howard_C
Thumbnail #2 of Colchicum  by Howard_C

By Howard_C
Thumbnail #3 of Colchicum  by Howard_C

Thumbnail #4 of Colchicum  by TBGDN

By GardenGuyKin
Thumbnail #5 of Colchicum  by GardenGuyKin

By Todd_Boland
Thumbnail #6 of Colchicum  by Todd_Boland

Thumbnail #7 of Colchicum  by TBGDN

There are a total of 10 photos.
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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Apr 11, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The elegantly goblet-shaped flowers bloom without foliage in September, when many gardens begin to look tired. The color is more intense than the perennially big-selling 'Lilac Wonder'. Colchicum flowers often fall over after a day or so---they stay upright longer if grown through a low groundcover. I'm not a believer in "bigger is better", but with colchicums the extra size of its flowers helps them to stand out above their companions. I always look forward to their appearance, and I'm always disappointed that they last so briefly.

Each corm produces multiple flowers in succession over 2-3 weeks. Because the corms multiply rapidly by offsets, I'm inclined to plant them 12-18" apart. They aren't cheap, but even a single corm will soon produce a substantial display if you dig and move its offsets every couple of years when the foliage goes dormant. Corms should be purchased for late summer delivery and planted immediately, or they will bloom in storage. "The Giant" is one of the most widely available.

The glossy spring leaves are big and beautiful, though their demise is not pretty. Broad, straplike, to 1' long, they rise in earliest spring and go dormant in June. As the corms multiply, the clump of foliage tends to smother its spring neighbors.

This plant performs well in full sun to part shade. It does well in the shade of deciduous trees. I think of colchicums as among the more shade-tolerant of bulbs---similar in their requirements to daffodils, and just as easy.

Good drainage is essential. Consistent moisture is needed only when the leaves are active in spring. Too much water leads to corm rot, especially during summer dormancy. Colchicums perform well under large deciduous shrubs and trees, whose roots absorb any excess moisture in summer. All colchicums are intolerant of standing water.

All parts contain toxic concentrations of colchicine, and are not generally bothered by herbivores. Leaves, corms, and flowers are vulnerable to snails and slugs.

Soil pH can be acid, neutral, or alkaline, as long as it's well drained. Colchicums tolerate poor soil, but quickly show their appreciation for added organic matter.

Colchicums are commonly called autumn crocus or meadow saffron. Both names are correct but misleading, as it is not a crocus, nor does it produce saffron. There are true crocuses that bloom in the fall, and among them is the saffron crocus, Crocus sativus.

"Naked ladies" usually refers to Amaryllis belladonna.

Positive whitesam9 On Feb 20, 2011, whitesam9 from Dayton, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Very beautiful lavender/ pink flowers. I ordered some Giant Colchicum bulbs on the internet last year. The bulbs were already starting to sprout when I received them in mid-September. I popped them in the ground, and I had flowers blooming in just a few days. They bloomed for about almost a month in my garden (until mid-October).

Positive TBGDN On Mar 12, 2006, TBGDN from (Zone 5a) wrote:

These are large flowering crocuses which as I write are putting up new growth. They are a nice rich green color of foliage, and will continue to grow to a height of about 8-10". In mid-summer the foliage dies back to the ground, and in late August through mid-September flower buds appear on narrow stems. They are quite attractive in the late summer garden, and the color is welcome at that time when other blooms have diminished. These will even bloom on a bare bulb if left on a sunny window sill.

Neutral Howard_C On Sep 28, 2004, Howard_C from St John's, NL wrote:

One of the hybrids produced in Holland in the early 1900's, this is my least favorite; its colour is an insipid pink and it's big and blowsy so that it falls over in our rather wild climate. However, it increases well, and some people like things big!

The picture I've added illustrates the distinguishing features of this variety: pale pink tessellated petals gradually fading into the white centres, over 3 inches long, and brown not yellow anthers. (It has been so dull lately that I had to pick a flower and bring it indoors to get it to open for the picture!)


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Macy, Indiana
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Ludington, Michigan
Jefferson, New York
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Salem, Oregon
Conway, South Carolina

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