How to Grow Crocus Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Crocus, Saffron, & Spring Crocus

Crocus plants are grown from hardy bulbs, and are beloved by many gardeners.

They flower in the late winter and early spring. This is great for helping to bring a touch of life into the garden, following the winter.

Crocus tommasinianus
Crocus tommasinianus by Drew Avery.

They have flowers of yellow, purple or white that have upturned petals, and are instantly recognisable.

Yellow Crocus photograph by ArminVogel.

Some of the common varieties of crocus include Saffron and Spring crocus.

Crocus sativus
Crocus sativus by Maurizio Zanetti.

The petals of the saffron crocus are beloved in culinary circles. Where they are used to enrich foods as diverse as rice and bread.

Saffron picture by Delphine Ménard.

Commonly Grown Crocus Species Photographs and Plant Identification

Crocus sativus

Crocus sativus
Crocus sativus (Saffron Crocus / Autumn crocus), photograph by Finca la Casilla; CC.

Crocus tommasinianus

Crocus tommasinianus
Crocus tommasinianus (Woodland Crocus / Early Crocus / Tommasini's Crocus / Tommies), photograph by Andreas Rockstein; CC.

Crocus vernus

Crocus vernus
Crocus vernus (Spring Crocus / Giant Crocus), picture by myafcatowl; CC.

Crocus Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Crocus, Saffron, Spring Crocus.
Life Cycle: Hardy bulb.
Height: 4 to 16 inches (10 to 40 cm).
Native: Northern Southern Mediterranean Americas Europe Asia Australasia Africa.

Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10.
Flowers: Species dependent: Autumn. Late winter and/or early spring.
Flower Details: White, purple, yellow. Multi-coloured. Solitary. Funnel-shaped. Cup-shaped. Upturned.
Foliage: Blades, Grass-like. Green. Vertical.

Sow Outside: Usually grown from bulbs as seed grown plants will not bear flowers for about three or four years.
Bulbs: 1 to 3 inches (3 to 7 cm). Plant in mid-summer for autumn flowering species. Plant in autumn for spring flowering species. Spacing 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm).
Seeds: 1/8 inch (3 mm). Start of spring. Use a cold frame. Germination time: one to six months at a temperature of 55 to 65°F (13 to 18°C). weeks. Do not disturb for at least two years.
Sow Inside: No.

Requirements and care: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Soil pH 6.0 to 8.0. Rich soil, light soil. Provide a spring feed. Propagate: by dividing in the autumn.

Miscellaneous: The stamens of Crocus sativus are used as a spice. Saffron is used both for its bitter flavor and to add colour to dishes.

How to Grow Crocus

It is best to grow crocus from bulbs outdoors. These should be planted at a depth of 5 to 7 cm into a rich soil (pH 6 to 8) in the autumn.

If you plan to sow crocus seeds, then you should plant them at a depth of 3 mm (1/8th inch) into a cold frame, and leave to grow for two years before moving to the final location.

It usually takes crocus plants about four years to flower when growing them from seeds.

The crocus should be transplanted into their final location at about 5 cm apart. Do this in a sunny area of the garden, which has good drainage.

Caring for Crocus in the Garden

Crocus plants should be fertilised in the spring. Leaves should be removed from the plant once they have fully shriveled and decayed.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Crocus plants. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Lythrum, Veltheimia plant, Gaura plant, and Begonia plants.