Crocuses add a splash of color to the garden in spring and fall. Carpets of small purple, yellow and white flowering bulbs provide a cheerful spectacle from late winter onwards. They also provide a much-needed source of nectar and pollen for pollinating insects just emerging from hibernation. Native to Eastern Europe, crocuses are easy-to-grow spring bulbs and are well suited to growing in pots and growing natural in grass.
How to Grow Crocuses
Plant crocus tubers in moist but well-drained soil in a full sun location and plant the tubers at a depth three times their own size. You can grow crocuses at the front of a bed, naturalized in grass or in pots. Always allow the foliage to die back completely after flowering.
More on the subject of crocus cultivation:
When should crocus bulbs be planted?
Plant crocus bulbs in the fall, from September to November. In the UK you can plant crocuses until Christmas as long as the bulbs remain firm and no mold has developed. However, they may bloom later than they normally would. For a quick pop of color, you can plant pre-grown spring crocuses in pots in the spring, but the bulbs left over from the fall are likely to become soft and moldy in the spring and therefore cannot be planted. However, the autumn crocus Colchicum Autumnale can also be planted in spring.
Where can you plant crocuses?
Most crocus varieties need to be planted in a sunny, open location. They can be successfully naturalized in the grass and form a beautiful spring meadow. Certain species, such as Crocus gargaricus, require moist but well-drained soil and also grow in partial shade.
Crocuses can be grown in pots either individually or mixed with other spring bloomers. Add plenty of sand for drainage.
How to plant crocuses
Plant crocuses in well-drained or very gritty and well-drained soil or compost. Saffron crocuses and other fall-flowering varieties need to be planted fairly deep – about 10cm in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil in a sunny location and 7.5cm apart. Crocus bulbs do not need to be soaked before planting.
Make sure to plant your crocus tubers with the pointed tip facing up and the flattened end at the bottom of your planting hole.
If you have crocuses that have naturalized in the grass, do not cut the lawn until the flowers have died and the leaves have yellowed and disappeared.
Spring-blooming crocuses bloom when the sun warms the ground. However, fall-blooming crocuses respond to falling soil temperatures. Therefore, flowering may not be as vigorous in the milder fall when the nights are not cool enough.
How to propagate crocuses
Once established, crocuses reproduce and form their own colonies. If you want to increase your collection, dig up large clumps in the fall and divide them into smaller ones, or remove individual tubers and pot them up.