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Crocus, among the first to bloom


Crocus is a tiny bulb flower blooming either at the end of winter or in fall.

Core Crocus facts

Typespring bulb

Height – 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm)
Exposure – full sun, part sun

Soil: ordinary   –    Planting: spring/fall   –   Flowering: winter or fall (variety)

Planting and care are a set of small actions that, if properly performed, will boost blooming.

Planting crocus

There are two planting periods, each matching the one or the other variety. The species that produces saffron is called Crocus sativus.

  • Planting crocusIt is recommended to plant in fall those bulbs of species that bloom at the end of winter
  • and to plant at the beginning of summer the bulbs of species blooming in fall

Follow a planting depth of 2 inches (5 cm) and plant in clusters of at least 20 to 30 bulbs.

Pruning and caring for crocus

Crocus careAt the end of the blooming, wait for leaves to turn yellow before cutting them off, because this is exactly when the flower is storing nutrients in its bulb for the next blooming cycle.

If you’ve planted crocus in the middle of your lawn, wait for the crocus leaves to have wilted before mowing for the first time in spring.

Usually, this will match with the end of the first dandelion blooming. You’ll have a lawn dotted with yellow dandelions, but won’t have to suffer through all the weeding!

Different types of crocus

Crocus saffronCrocus sativus, as mentioned above, is the variety from which saffron is collected. This is arduous work!

Other crocus species include Crocus chrysanthus, Crocus sieberi, Crocus tommasinianus, Crocus olivieri

Many of these grow in the wild, but garden centers are beginning to introduce them as botanical crocus varieties.

Harvesting saffron

Crocus sativus produces three long pistils (the female pollen-receiving organ) per flower.

  • saffron harvestEarly morning, when flowers have just opened, harvesters scour the flower beds to pick each fresh flower by hand, whole.
  • Within less than an hour, batches are sent indoors, where they’re spilled on a table.
  • Each flower is then opened to reveal the pistils which are carefully pulled out with tweezers.
  • Pistils are carefully dried and packed.

The faster the process, the higher the quality, but there are also other factors: variety, soil, water, sun…

A million flowers will yield only 5 kg of flowers, so you can imagine how much work this is! Luckily, you only need a few to prepare a savory meal…

All there is to know about crocus

Widely opened violet-white crocus flowers.This bulb plant is remarkable for the beauty of its flowers that are most often a blend of blue and violet, that often appear in the middle of the lawn or at the foot of trees.

They are perfect to highlight your garden at the end of winter or in fall, when clusters large and dense enough start forming incredible flowered spots all around.

As a spice, it’s a valuable crop, but since flowers only last a day, it’s a challenge to time your availability for the harvest…

Also great for growing in pots, where it takes over after snowbell and muscari start fading.

Smart tip about crocus

In a lawn, crocus will multiply and spread over the years, but for that you must refrain from mowing until the leaves have wilted away…

More spring bulb flowers

Images: Pixabay: Hans Braxmeier, Noella Gift Shop, rador6, Sebastien, Jo Wiggijo, Johan Puisais
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