Crocus ( Saffron ) - 5 Bulbs
Crocuses are among one of the most popular of the early spring bloomers.
Crocus refers to a genus of several dozen species of small clump-forming perennials that have their origins in many different Zone 3 regions from southern Europe to China. They are most noted for being some of the very earliest spring flowers. Crocus have since been cultivated into a wide variety of hybrids, most developed in Holland.
Bulbs are ideal for anyone who rates themselves as 'keen-but-clueless' because they are one of the easiest plants to grow. Provided you plant them at the right time of year at more or less the right depth, they will reward you year after year with a reliable display of blooms.
Mass plantings of colorful crocuses herald the start of spring, sometimes poking their flowers right up through the snow. Because the plants flower so early, crocuses adapt well to planting in lawns and will multiply over time to cover large areas.
Flower colors include blue, violet, striped, yellow, and white, and height ranges from 3 to 6 inches.
Planting & Care
Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.
- Before the ground freezes in the fall, early bulbs can be planted most anywhere, except in the dense shade on the north side of buildings.
- Ideally, plant crocus corms 6 to 8 weeks before a hard frost is expected and when soils are below 60 degrees F. This is usually during September and October in the North, and October and November in the South.
- Make sure the soil drains well, because bulbs will rot in soggy ground.
- Work in organic matter such as compost, peat or a substitute, such as shredded leaves to a depth of at least 10 inches.
- Plant crocus bulbs 3 to 4 inches deep (with the pointy end up). After planting, water well.
- Plant bulbs in groups or clusters rather than spacing them in a single line along a walkway or border. Single flowers get lost in the landscape.Plant a few inches apart, and plant in groups of 10 or more.
- Consider planting crocuses in lawns and meadows where they can form carpets, or mass them in the front of flower beds along the edge.
- Plant taller bulbs and spring-flowering shrubs behind the early bulbs for color contrast.
- Apply a balanced fertilizer in early autumn if your spring is short and the days heat up fast; or, apply fertilizer after bulbs flower if your spring is long and temperate; bulbs will have a chance to use the extra nutrients to produce bigger carbohydrate stores.
- Through the autumn, keep crocus beds watered if weather gets dry but do not waterlog. Cover the beds with mulch before the winter.
- In late February, remove mulches from snowdrops and crocuses so the shoots can come through.
- In February and March, keep plastic milk jugs or other coverings on hand to protect the flowers of crocuses and other early bloomers against the return of severe weather.
- If you have crocuses growing in your lawn in mid-Spring, don't mow until their leaves have died down.