The other season for crocus

Most people think of crocus as a harbinger of spring, but there are species of crocus (and related cousins) that bloom in the fall, including the crocus that saffron comes from. Their purple flowers look spectacular with the oranges and yellows of changing leaves. They are planted in late summer and bloom four to six weeks later, or sometimes while still in the bag if you don't get them in the ground in time. It's late for planting them this year, but you may well get good deals on ones that have already bloomed, and you can tuck them in the ground for next fall. Matt Mattus has a great guide to them on his Growing with Plants blog: http://www.growingwithplants.com/ .
And you can see some blooming in a Hometalk member's garden here:
http://www.hometalk.com/search?filter=autumn+crocus&search=&zipcode=#!/545715
Autumn crocus will naturalize into thick stands when happy (photo by Matt Mattus via Growing with Plants).
Colchicum are close cousins of autumn crocus and make excellent cut flowers (photo by Matt Mattus via Growing with Plants).
This is the saffron crocus. The distended stigmas you see here are what is harvested for the world's most expensive spice (photo by Matt Mattus via Growing with Plants).
Frequently asked questions
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  • Judy Dearduff Judy Dearduff on Jan 01, 2017
    Where do you get these crocuses? Are they bulbs I want to know if they can be grown in all zones and climates

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  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Oct 04, 2012
    Leida, autumn crocus foliage is generally more grasslike. You would see the leaves in the spring, which would fade before the blooms come up. If you have that foliage and blooms at the same time, you have something else.

  • Leida R Leida R on Oct 04, 2012
    Ok. I will post some pics when it flowers to see if it could be identified. Thanks for helping me here.

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