Features forcing autumn crocuses
On the balcony there is a honey aroma, the sun warms, and satisfied bees swirl over delicate flowers. It seems - a miracle happened and spring suddenly came to us! But around the yellowed trees - late autumn, and probably these are the last warm days this year ... Once, quite by accident, I discovered autumn distillation of crocuses. Since then, it has become one of the favorite traditions - to plant crocuses for autumn flowering annually. How to make crocuses bloom by a certain date in the autumn period, I will describe in this article.
How are autumn crocuses different from spring crocuses?
Speaking of forcing, we most often mean the flowering of primroses in winter or early spring indoors. Gentle touching “living bouquets” that finally blossom after a long winter leave few people indifferent and invariably fill their hearts with warmth. But autumn distillation is no less vivid event, because “primroses” mysteriously appear when the summer season is over, the garden is almost empty, spring is far behind, and only the long winter months are ahead.
Distillation is an agricultural technique, as a result of which the flowering of plants occurs at an unusual time for them. It is difficult to say whether crocuses bloom in the autumn period from a scientific point of view, because in this case we are talking about a special group of autumn-blooming crocuses. Nevertheless, using the technique described in this article, you can also vary the flowering of this type of crocus and get it by a specific autumn month or even delay the appearance of flowers until the New Year.
In most people, crocuses are associated with spring primroses. But experienced flower growers are well aware that crocuses are divided into spring blossoming and blooming in autumn. In appearance, the flowers of the first and second do not have any external differences: they are cup-shaped, they consist of six tender petals and an expressive column of stamens in the center of the flower.
The only difference is that spring crocuses bloom flowers at the same time as the leaves. While almost all autumn-blooming crocuses have no leaves - bunches of linear leaves appear in spring without flowers and die off with the beginning of summer, in the autumn only peduncles appear from the ground.
Due to external similarities, growth characteristics and flowering time, autumn crocuses are often confused with colchicum (colchicum). But colchicum and crocus are completely different plants. Colchicum leaves are wider, bulbs are larger, and the flowers are also larger in size compared to crocuses.
Spring-flowering crocuses have become more widespread among gardeners due to the fact that this group is more extensive and is offered for sale by a huge number of varieties and hybrids. However, probably, an equally important reason why autumn crocuses are less popular lies in the late flowering of this species.
Only the inhabitants of private houses or gardeners living outside the city all year round can enjoy the touching flowers of autumn crocuses. But the vast majority of flower lovers grow plants in the country. Such crocuses bloom exactly when most summer residents move to the city and appear at the dacha less and less (some species and varieties bloom even in November). Therefore, unfortunately, they often fail to admire blooming crocuses.
And in other years, when winter comes too early, crocuses do not have time to bloom at all, and their buds go under the snow. For this reason, once having acquired the bulbs of autumn crocuses, I decided to organize an analogue of spring distillation for them and make them blossom not in an empty garden, but in my city apartment.
Autumn crocuses - distillation features
For the first time, I purchased planting material for autumn-blooming crocuses several years ago at the end of September. These were medium-sized bulbs with fairly long white shoots about five centimeters long.
I planted the bulbs in a liter pot quite densely at a distance of 1-2 centimeters from each other and to a depth of 5 centimeters. Soil was used ready for flowering plants. I did not add additional fertilizers, since the bulbs had already accumulated a sufficient amount of nutrients and planted the buds.
Flowering occurred about 1.5-2 weeks after planting. The total flowering time of autumn crocuses was about two weeks and fell in mid-late October.
At that time, the weather was relatively warm and there were no significant frosts, so I kept my crocuses on the open balcony. By evening, they covered their flowers, and as soon as the sun began to shine brightly over them, they fully opened. Since the blooming of crocuses on the balcony in the middle of autumn made an indelible impression on me, I decided to reproduce this experience further.
As soon as at night the temperature began to regularly drop below zero, I poured a little pots with faded crocuses and placed them in the vegetable section of the refrigerator. There they stood until spring (if there is a basement, you can move the bulbs there).
In the spring, as soon as the snow fell, I fed the plantings with full mineral fertilizer and dug pots with bulbs in the garden, forgetting about them until the fall. In early September, I dug up the dug up pots with sleeping crocuses, watered well, and sent it back to the refrigerator. The bulbs are there until they show the spouts from the ground for a couple of centimeters (sometimes crocuses do not want to wake up in the refrigerator and they have to be brought into the heat).
I transfer the pots with the awakened bulbs to the balcony, where they bloom about 1.5-2 weeks after the start of active growth. On the open balcony they are, in fact, in street conditions, so their flowering lasts long enough, as in the open ground - about two weeks.
Autumn blooming caucus can also be found on the windowsill in the room, however, in this case, due to the high temperature and dry air, their flowering will last a little less.
To extend the total flowering time of crocuses when planting bulbs in pots, you can plant them at different depths. In this case, the deeper bulbs will bloom a little later and the “live bouquets” will be in bloom much longer. Also, if you keep crocuses in the room, then to extend flowering at least at night, take them to an open balcony or refrigerate.
Due to the fact that the growth of crocuses placed in the refrigerator is slowed down, their flowering can be delayed in time, adjusted to the desired date and even transferred to the winter months. Most varieties of autumn blooming crocuses are easily amenable to such distillation.
But sometimes it happens that instead of the “spouts” of future peduncles, the bulbs drive out the foliage. In this case, the flowering of crocuses in the current season should not be expected. The reasons for this behavior of the flowers are not completely clear, therefore, for autumn distillation, it is better to plant several pots with a margin, so that it is guaranteed than admire the autumn.
Practice has shown that most often behaves in a similar way saffron seed (Crocus sativus) This species is also the least winter-hardy among autumn-blooming crocuses. Therefore, for autumn distillation and cultivation in the garden, it is better to choose other varieties and varieties.
The best varieties of autumn blooming crocuses for distillation
Beautiful Crocus "Albus" (Crocus speciosus ‘Albus’) The most fragrant of all the autumn-flowering crocuses, has a very pleasant honey smell. Star-shaped flower, pointed petals, snow-white, yellow anthers, bright orange column. The height of the plant is 15-20 centimeters. The diameter of the flower is 3.5 centimeters.
Pretty Crocus “Marshmallows” (Crocus pulchellus ‘Zephyr’) Flowers of delicate light lilac color with expressive veins of a darker tone. In the center of the flower are yellow-orange anthers and a column. The shape of the flower is cupped, the edges of the petals are rounded. The aroma is practically absent. The diameter of the flower in full dissolution is about four centimeters. Plant height 10-15 centimeters.
Crocus Kochi "Zonatus" (Crocus kotschyanus zonatus) Crocuses are very unusual pink-purple. Stamens and column bright orange. The shape of the flower is goblet, the tips of the petals are slightly rounded. The diameter of the flower in open form can reach six centimeters. The flowers have a pleasant aroma. Plant height 15 centimeters. Flowering time, on average, 10 days.
Trellised crocus (Crocus cancellatus) A fairly new look, which went on sale in 2017. The flowers of this species are very beautiful two-tone color. The general tone is light lilac, against the background of which on the outer sides of the petals there is a bright purple pattern in the form of stripes and venation. In the center of the flower are bright yellow stamens and a column. The shape of the flower is goblet, the height of the goblet is 4-5 centimeters. Peduncle height 10-15 centimeters.