Last Updated on May 20, 2022 by Real Men Sow
In spring and autumn, crocuses add a splash of color to the garden. From late winter, carpets made from small yellow, purple and white flowering corms provide a joyous display.
Crocus bulbs are also a source of nectar, pollen and other essential nutrients for the pollinating insects that have just emerged from hibernation. Crocuses, which are native to Eastern Europe, are easy to grow and can be grown in pots or naturalized in grass.
How To Grow Crocus Bulbs
Plat crocus corms in moist but well-drained soil in full sun, planting the corms at a depth of three times their own size. You can grow crocus at the front of a border, naturalized in grass or in pots. Always let the foliage die back completely after flowering.
Where to Plant Crocus Bulbs
Most crocus varieties need to be planted in a sunny, open position. They’ll successfully naturalise in grass to make a lovely spring meadow. Certain species, such as Crocus gargaricus, need moist but well-drained soil and will grow in partial shade too.
Crocuses can be grown in pots, either on their own, or mixed with other spring-flowering bulbs. Add plenty of grit for drainage.
How to Plant Crocuses
Plant crocuses in well-drained or very gritty and free-draining soil or compost. Saffron crocus and other autumn flowering varieties need to be planted quite deep – about 10cm in well-drained, rich soil in a sunny situation and 7.5cm apart.
Make sure you plant your crocus corms with pointed tip facing upwards and the flattened end at the bottom of your planting hole.
How to Care for Crocus Plant
If you have crocuses that have naturalised in grass, don’t cut the lawn until the flowers have died and the leaves have yellowed and disappeared.
Spring-flowering crocus come into flower as the sun warms up the soil. However, autumn-flowering crocuses respond to decreasing soil temperatures. So, in milder autumns, flowering may not be so vigorous if the nights aren’t cool enough.
Propagate Crocus Plants
Crocuses will multiply once established and create their own colonies. If you want to propagate your collection, dig up large clumps in autumn and split them into smaller ones, or clean off individual corms and pot up.
Problem-Solving On Crocus Plants
Crocuses are relatively trouble-free, although newly planted bulbs may fall prey to hungry squirrels in the autumn, so it’s worth netting grassy areas, or covering pots with wire mesh.
Other Crocus Bulbs to Try:
- Violet Queen – a beautiful deep-violet, spring flowering cultivar
- Crocus x culturum ‘Jeanne d’Arc’ – one of a group of Dutch hybrids with larger corms that can be planted deeper in the ground and in thicker grass. Flowers are white with purple staining
- Tommasinianus ‘Whitewell Purple’ – a cultivar with pale purple flowers on strong stems, grows well in herbaceous borders
- Sativus – the saffron crocus produces purple flowers in autumn. The bright red style at the centre of the flower produces the delicate yellow strands of cooking saffron. But you need around 150 flowers to produce one gram. They need digging up and replanting into fresh soil every 4-5 years
- Crocus speciosus ‘Albus’ RHS AGM – an all white form of this autumn flowering species. It suits light shade or can be planted under deciduous shrubs. Plant in late summer to flower in September/October