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Can I rescue this bulb?

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Question from Vicki


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I bought one of these bulbs a month or so ago but didn't plant it out as my garden took longer than planned to be ready.
I've now discovered that it started sprouting (with squished flowers) in the bag and and looks very sorry for itself.
Can I just plant it out now as it is and hope for the best?

Can I rescue this bulb? (17/10/2010)

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  • Views: 947
  • Replies: 2
  • Posted: Sun. 17th October 2010 14:29

Re: Can I rescue this bulb?

Reply from Jo Clark

Hi Vicki,

Colchicums are autumn flowerers, so I am somewhat surprised that they were on sale at this time of year, since they are normally planted in the spring!

It seems yours was so keen to get going that it didn't want to wait to get in the ground.

Not to worry.

What I would recommend is to plant it in a small pot for now, just deep enough to cover the bulb but leave the flowers (and, importantly, any foliage) out of the compost, so that it can still absorb energy from photosynthesis and build up its strength for next year's flowering season.

Keep the compost moist, but don't allow it to get waterlogged as this may cause rotting and failure of the bulb.

It doesn't need to be kept indoors or in a greenhouse - but it's easier to monitor how it does if it's in a pot.

Leave any foliage it produces to die back naturally, but remove the flowers when they have died, so that it doesn't expend any energy in trying to make seed, at the expense of bulking up its energy stores inside the bulb. You can either leave it in the pot when the foliage dies back, or take it out, brush off any loose earth and keep it somewhere cool and dry until the spring.

Then in the spring (which is the normal planting season for colchicums) you can plant it out in a suitable spot in the garden.

It should recover fine. All the best of luck with it - colchicums are extremely beautiful and should be more widely known!

Jo Clark

  • Posted: Tue. 19th October 2010 13:37

Re: Can I rescue this bulb?

Reply from Vicki

Thanks, Jo, for such detailed advice! There isn't any foliage, just flowers but I'll do as you suggest and keep my fingers crossed!


  • Posted: Tue. 19th October 2010 15:49