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Not A Crocus

AndrewR

By AndrewR

10 comments


At this time of year, I have two little bulbs in flower that look like a crocus. And they’re not colchicums either. They are sternbergias.

The genus sternbergia contains eight species, all found around the Mediterranean or in central and southwest Asia. The flowers are generally yellow (S. candida has white flowers) and most flower in the autumn or early winter (again there are two exceptions, S. vernalis and S candida, which are spring flowering). In the garden, sternbergias require a well drained soil in full sun – the sort of conditions where alpines would thrive.

Sternbergia lutea is the one most commonly offered for sale, and grows to about six inches

Sternbergia sicula is similar but has smaller flowers and narrower leaves, although some growers claim it is a better bloomer

Even smaller, and sometimes available from a specialist nursery is Sternbergia colchiciflora

Although the first two will naturalise, as anyone who has visited Greece in the autumn will have seen, a spot at the front of a rockery or in a raised bed is probably better for gardens in the UK.

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Comments

 

Those are lovely - never seen one before.

9 Oct, 2015

 

So bright and beautiful....

9 Oct, 2015

 

I have seen these and thought they were crocuses and that something was amiss. I don't know why but I never thought of planting fall blooming bulbs and I think that now I will. Many thanks for this Blog!

9 Oct, 2015

bjs
Bjs
 

All looking very happy

10 Oct, 2015

 

They are lovely little plants .......beautiful rich colour.

10 Oct, 2015

 

I planted some Autumn Crocus bulbs, which flowered.
In the spring the leaves turned brown. I replanted the bulbs and they have died.
Am thinking now I should have put them in the gravel bed
in full sun. Will try again when the garden centre have some.

11 Oct, 2015

bjs
Bjs
 

Diane how do you know they have died have you dug them up again, I ask because if the move or size of the bulbs prevented
them flowering this year chances are the leaves are still to come

11 Oct, 2015

 

The leaves do disappear Diane, but it doesn't mean the bulbs have died. Next time try leaving them in the ground and see what happens. My friend has had some for years planted in ordinary garden soil and they have spread into a big clump..

11 Oct, 2015

 

Yes, Brian and Stera I knew someone like that in a local village, thought it might happen for me. They are still there in a shady little corner. I keep watching them, hoping.

12 Oct, 2015

 

Keeping my fingers crossed for you Diane!

12 Oct, 2015

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