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Fall-Blooming Bulbs

The down side of planting bulbs in the fall: having to wait till the following spring to see the flowers. With these plants, however, you get flowers in just three weeks.

Most bulbs that are planted in the fall are the spring-blooming types — daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, to name just a few. But there are at least two beautiful exceptions to that rule:

Autumn-blooming crocus (Crocus speciosus)
. Similar to the spring-blooming type, this crocus comes in white, pink, yellow or purple. Plant these bulb-like corms so the tip is about two inches below the soil surface.

Colchicum (Colchicum spp.). Sometimes called autumn crocus, these plants produce fall flowers from bulb-like corms. Foliage appears in early spring and dies back by early summer, so by the time of bloom, the stems are bare — hence, the plant's other common name, "naked lady." Colors include purple, rose, white and pink. Plant these so the tip of the bulb is about four inches below the soil surface.

It's difficult to find fall-blooming bulbs in local garden centers and nurseries, so you usually have to order them online. Plant the bulbs as soon as you get them. Choose a well-drained site in dappled shade to full sun.

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