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All About Crocus

All About Crocus

Crocuses are among the very first flowers to bloom every spring. In cold climates, their cheerful blooms often open when there is still snow on the ground. Crocus flowers come in Easter egg colors of purple, yellow, lavender, cream, and white. Over time, these carefree bulbs will establish themselves and multiply to produce more blooms each year. Crocus flowers are magnets for winter-weary bees, drawn to the rich, golden pollen within each flower.

Start with a better lightbulb
If you compare two crocus bulbs side by side, differences in quality are easy to spot. Larger onions, like the one shown below on the far left, contain more stored food energy. The result is a stronger plant with more buds.

Plan for success
Sun or Shade: Crocus bulbs (aka bulbs) can be planted in full sun or partial shade. The bulbs will flower and die before most trees and shrubs have budded, meaning they are suitable for planting in areas that can be shady in summer.

Hardiness Zone: Crocuses are hardy in zones 3-8. Like many other spring flowering bulbs, they need a cold winter to bloom properly. That means at least 10 weeks of temperatures at or below 45°F. If you are unsure of your growing zone, click here for a zone map.

Soil Conditions: Like other spring flowering bulbs, Crocus should be planted in well-drained soil. Soggy soil can cause the bulbs to rot.

Perennial Gardens: Crocus bulbs are small and easy to fit in flower beds. Plant them near the front edge when they’re easy to see. After flowering, the foliage quickly fades, making way for other plants.

Rock Gardens: Crocuses grow well in the spaces between rocks and in gravel gardens. With good drainage and warmth from nearby rocks, they bloom especially early. Plant a mix of crocus species and giant crocuses to add to the show.

Flower Beds and Walkways: Start your flower garden early by planting crocuses along with other spring flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils, muscari and hyacinths. Stick a few crocus bulbs near the edge of a walkway, path or stairway and enjoy their delicate blooms every spring for years to come.

Lawn and Landscape: Get a jump into spring by planting crocuses under trees and shrubs, or even right on the lawn. Crocus bulbs are small and only need to be planted about 3 inches deep, making it easy to plant a lot of these in a very short amount of time. They look best when planted in clumps or drifts as they would grow in the wild.

When to Plant: Plant crocus bulbs in the fall, once the weather has cooled and before the ground freezes. For best results, plant the bulbs within a month of receiving them.

Depth and Spacing: Crocuses look best when planted in groups of 3 to 9 bulbs. Space them 3 inches apart in the center and plant 3 inches deep.

Planting Tips: Crocuses are not fussy and will thrive almost anywhere you plant them. They grow best in loose, well-drained soil, but will tolerate sandy and clay soils as well.

Unlike some flower bulbs, crocuses don’t mind competition from neighboring plants. Just make sure the foliage gets plenty of sunlight until it fades.

Squirrels and chipmunks sometimes dig up and eat crocus bulbs. If these pesky critters are a problem in your garden, you can help protect newly planted bulbs by covering the area with trellis or spraying the soil with an odor repellent.

Crocuses can bloom any time from late winter to early spring. They appear on the scene very quickly. One day there is no sign of growth and the next day you can spot them in full bloom! Crocus flowers have no stems. The buds emerge from the soil at the same time as the foliage. Each bulb typically produces multiple buds in quick succession.

Planting a few handfuls of crocus bulbs will fill your garden with flowers when you need them most. Crocuses are also an early and important food source for bees. On sunny days, you’ll see them busily collecting the rich, golden-yellow pollen.

Snow and extreme cold can damage crocus flowers that have already opened, but this will not affect the bulb or future blooms.