Colchicum for the south, was Blue bulbs in bloom mid February

Jane McGary
Wed, 12 Feb 2014 19:14:39 PST
Gastil wrote
>Well the climate envy goes both ways. :) Those Colchicum autumnale I
>received from you via the PBS BX 321 in August 2012 just have not
>thrived at all in my garden, likely because it is so much drier and
>warmer here.

That is probably the Colchicum species that extends farthest north. 
There are many (who knows how many? Not until Dr. Persson tells us) 
species from warmer climates that would thrive in Santa Barbara, 
California. For instance, Gastil could grow Colchicum variegatum, the 
beautiful tessellated species that is one parent of the hardier C. x 
agrippinum. Many of the fall-blooming small Colchicum species are 
from warm places such as Anatolia and the Peloponnese (some photos 
appear in the wiki).

There is a cold-hardy small species that flowers now: Colchicum 
hungaricum. I have both pink and white color forms of the species and 
two select forms, 'Valentine' (large pink) and 'Velebit Star' (small, 
floriferous white). The latter is in full bloom now and 'Valentine' 
is just showing color in its buds, not quite in time for Valentine's 
Day but it has a good excuse, having been frozen solid all last 
week.I suspect this would survive in colder areas than the Pacific 
Northwest and Holland given snow cover in the worst part of winter, 
and would then flower later. I bought these from European vendors and 
grew the unnamed forms from seed.

Growing colchicums from seed is a gamble and it's always interesting 
to see several species, sown in different years perhaps, germinate 
within a single week in late winter. The smaller ones can flower in 
their fourth year from germination, or rarely in the third year.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA'

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