On December the 12th at 2.00pm we had our Bunfight. On one table laden with afternoon tea, with scones home made Italian Apple cake, Red Jelly Lamingtons, Eclairs, Savouries, Slices and a little sign saying Cakes from the Silk Road, Plungers filled with coffee the aroma filling the air and a Large tea pot that makes about 2 dozen cups of tea we do our selves proud. The day is not called a Bunfight for nothing, the other 6 tables straining under the weight of so many wonderful plants, seeds and bulbs all for free, to choose from, there were about ten people gathered around about approximately six envelopes of Colchicum cupanii, all waiting for the signal of go. Many hands went to grab for the envelopes and a couple of people were very disappointed as the envelopes were snatched away from their grasping hands, we do have a little decorum, but not much, as no one actually takes things out of people's hands, but it was a mad rush to get just one of those little special packets. Which prompted me to ask Jon to do an article for the blog on how he grows his Colchicum cupanii and have so many to spare as there were a few bulbs in each envelope.
I have found Colchicum cupani to be easy to grow and multiplies readily, especially in pots that have room for them to expand. I plant them in plastic pots late February in full sun after a dry dormant summer. The bulbs can shrivel up if left loose out of the soil in very hot weather so either store dry bulbs inside, under a house or leave in pots in the soil and place under trees or a table. I think the soil in pots, although dry, gives them enough insulation to stop them baking on those horrible 40 degree days. They do need warmth over summer so don't pamper them too much. If grown in the ground be vigilant that other plants don't grow over the top of them! From mid - late April the leaves emerge about 2 - 3 days before the flowers suddenly appear. All of the bulbs I brought along to the bunfight were flowering size and should produce multiple flowers. The leaves only grow to about 15cm (6") long and I find that they seed well, although getting those seeds to germinate is another issue altogether! I liquid feed a few times from flowering onwards to encourage larger offsets. I originally purchased them as Colchicum psaridis many years ago but after consultation with Otto Fauser and Marcus Harvey the unanimous decision was that they were C. cupani (C. psaridis is stoloniferous). I fell in love with them from the first time I saw them – they’re just so cute!
Flowers of Colchicum cupanii.