Not the plant you're looking for? Search over 300,000 plants

Colchicum autumnale
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

meadow saffron

C. autumnale is a cormous herbaceous perennial to 15cm, with erect, strap-shaped leaves to 30cm in length, and in autumn, up to 6 crocus-like lavender-pink flowers 6cm in length

Other common names
autumn crocus
fog crocus
see moremeadow crocus
Michaelmas crocus
naked boys
naked ladies
purple crocus
upstart
Synonyms
Colchicum autumnale 'Wild Form'
Colchicum autumnale var. minor hort.
see moreColchicum pannonicum Griseb. & Schenk.

Unlimited days out

Individual RHS membership from £47.25

Complete now
Buy this plant
Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0–0.1 metre
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer
Autumn Pink
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing or North–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Colchicaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Columnar upright
Potentially harmful
All parts are highly toxic by ingestion. Wear gloves and wash hands after handling
Genus

Colchicum are cormous perennials with usually coarse, broadly strap-shaped leaves which appear with or after the goblet-shaped flowers

Name status

Correct

Plant range
W & C Europe

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in moist but well-drained, deep, humus-rich, fertile soil. Intolerant of waterlogging. May be naturalised in turf

Propagation

Propagate by seed, sowing in containers in an open frame when ripe or separate corms when dormant in summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Patio and container plants
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Rock garden
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

May be damaged by slugs

Diseases

Generally disease free

My Garden

Your free RHS gardening coach

Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully

My plants
My calendar

My plants

My calendar

My ideas
Manage membership

My ideas

My advice

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.