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The Plant Guide

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Saffron crocus

Crocus sativus

KROW-kus sah-TY-vus

The saffron crocus blooms in the autumn, producing 1 to 5 rich lilac flowers with dark purple veins, held wide open above inconspicuous foliage.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsPlants may bloom well the first year, but sparsely thereafter. Generally will not flower in cool, wet areas. Saffron, called "the world's most expensive spice,"  is obtained from the long, conspicuous, deep red style. It takes about 14,000 stigma to make one ounce of saffron threads.

CarePlant 3 to 4 inches deep in late summer. Likes full sun and gritty, poor to moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Prefers hot summers. Under glass, provide full light with gritty soil and ample water during growth. Keep dry during summer dormancy.

PropagationSterile, increasing only by division.

ProblemsMice, voles, and squirrels may eat the corms, while birds may pick off flowers. In storage, corms are prone to rots and molds.

  • Genus : Crocus
  • Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Bloom Time : Fall
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Fall Interest
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Plant Height : Under 6 inches
  • Plant Width : Under 6 inches

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