Colchicum autumnale ‘Alboplenum’

– Posted in: Colchicums, Plant info

Colchicum autumnale 'Alboplenum' I got this in 1997 for about twice what Russell Stafford is selling it for this year. I hope that means stocks worldwide are increasing, because everyone should have some of these beauties around. Two words in the Odyssey Bulb catalog description don’t apply to mine: “pink-tinged” and “October.” I have never seen even a hint of pink in mine, and it’s obviously blooming in September for me. I originally had a ‘Purple Mound’ aster blooming here as well, but that has disappeared. When it was there, I remember being frustrated at how infrequently the two bloomed together, so maybe it has bloomed in October for me in other years. Certainly the other asters are blooming right now.

Hard to believe it is the double form of the flower pictured here. It seems not only double, but bigger in every dimension. It had increased sufficiently that I dug it up in 2003 and redistributed it in the same location. On rainy days I can see this gleaming against a background of dark purple ajuga from the kitchen door. Too bad that aster died.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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Kathy September 18, 2004, 9:18 am

Never heard of them before but glad to make their accquaintance. They have hardy blueberry varieties I’ve never heard of before, and northern grown paw-paws. I’ve always wanted to grow paw-paws, but I know it would be a gamble around here. Best to start with plants of northern provenance. I sing a folk song to my kids (which my mother sang to me) about dear little Nellie, “way down yonder in the paw-paw patch” and so we have always had a curiosity about this fruit. Thanks for passing along the link.

jenn September 17, 2004, 10:35 pm

Oh, yeah. Lovely site.

Here, in exchange, have you heard about this one?

Oikos Tree Crops,/a>, also in Michigan, with lots of rarities, but also with seedlings at small prices…

jenn September 17, 2004, 8:47 pm

Odyssy. That’s what I was missing. Thanks.

And I just put the hellobores into the ground after holding them in pots while I made sure the tansy was well and truely gone, so I don’t know how they will fare. The tree peony that was near-death when I rescued it from the mason at my mother’s house is doing okay with supplemental water once a month, so… but this HAS been a very wet summer…


I’ll go look at Odyssey…

Kathy September 17, 2004, 2:24 pm

Russell Stafford is the owner and catalog-copy-writer of Odyssey Bulbs (, which is located in Michigan, probably closer to you than to me. I’m sorry I didn’t make that clearer. I quote so much from his catalog this time of year, that after a while I feel like everyone knows who I’m talking about.

Russ could answer your question about culture better than I could, and his catalog states, “favors fertile, not-too-dry soil.” Mine is growing in a place that I would call medium in terms of moisture. You could email him about your specific conditions, or you could join the Pacific Bulb Society mailing list, and ask your question there. Or you could just buy one and try it.

jenn September 17, 2004, 12:07 pm

Russell Stafford – is that a place local to you, or do they have a web presence?

jenn September 17, 2004, 12:04 pm

Now that is one I might have to try. Do they need moist soil, or do you think it might do okay in the rather dry ground under a tree?

I’d love to put this near my new planting of hellebores.