How to Grow Tecophilaea Plants

Guide to Growing Chilean Crocus and Chilean Blue Crocus

Tecophilaea is usually grown as a hardy bulb by gardeners.

Tecophilaea Plants reache an height of 7 to 15 cm (3 to 6 inches), and bloom in the early months of spring.

When in bloom, they carry funnel shaped flowers of blue, often with a white base.

A common name for members of this species is the Chilean crocus.

The size of Tecophilaea crocuses makes them ideal for growing in a rock garden.

Tecophilaea cyanocrocu
Tecophilaea cyanocrocus by Aardvark of Fnord.

Tecophilaea Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Chilean crocus, Chilean blue crocus.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy bulb.
  • Height: 3 to 5 inches (8—13 cm).
  • Native: Chile.
  • Genus: Contains two species: Tecophilaea cyanocrocus and T. violiflora.
  • Growing Region: Zones 8 to 10.

  • Flowers: Early spring.
  • Flower Details: Intense blue. Often with a white throat. Goblet/funnel shaped. One inch (2.5 cm) diameter. Six petals (three large lower ones, three smaller upper ones.
  • Foliage: Erect. Lanceolate.

  • Grow Outside: Seed grown plants typically take four years to mature
    Seeds Germination time: one month to one year. Cover seed. Fresh seed. Autumn. Sow in pots and sink in a sheltered area. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Keep an eye on the flats to ensure that the soil remains moist. Grow in situ for three years. Transplant to their final location at the end of summer or beginning of autumn. Space at 4 to 5 inches (10—13 cm).
    Corms 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 cm). Towards the end of summer or in autumn.

  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight. Sandy. Lime free. Soil pH 6 to 7. Provide light winter feed. Light water in winter and spring, leave soil dry in summer and autumn. Winter mulch. Remove mulch as soon as sprouting occurs. Propagate: from offsets in the autumn.
  • Family: Tecophilaeaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Cyanastrum, Conanthera, and Cyanella.
  • Miscellaneous: Although a common rock garden plant the Chilean crocus is endangered in the wild, largely due to collection and grazing sheep.

How to Grow Chilean Crocus

It is easiest to grow Chilean Crocus and other Tecophilaea plants from corms. These should be planted about 7 to 12 cm (3 to 6 inches) deep at the end of summer or in early autumn.

They should be spaced at about 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) apart, and grown in a sunny part of the garden that has dry and sandy soil.

Tecophilaea are not the easiest plant to grow from seed. If you want to try, then sow the seeds into pots in the autumn and lightly cover. Next, sink the pot into a shady part of the garden and cover with glass.

Germination can take anything from one month to one year. Once the crocus seeds have sprouted, remove the glass. Leave in situ for three years, then transplant the corm at the beginning of autumn into its final location.

Caring for Tecophilaea

Tecophilaea take a little bit of care. They require to be fed towards the end of winter, and need to be watered during (and just before) their growing season (late winter and spring).

At the start of winter, apply a mulch to protect them from the harsh winter environment. As soon as the corms start to sprout in the spring remove the mulch.

If you require more Tecophilaea / Chilean crocus plants then they can be propagated by planting offsets in the autumn.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Tecophilaea plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Chilean bell flower and Araucari araucana plants.