Easy to cultivate, reliable and resistant, the crocuses are plants of the Iridaceae family, it has very colored flowers, from 7 to 10 centimeters tall, depending on the species. They develop from a particular type of bulb, called corm.
The flowers, rich in nectar, in the spring season are the first source of food for bees and insects useful for the health of the garden. They do not have particular exigencies about the soil, which, in any case, must not be too much soaked of water, and the position, which can be both in full sun and in the light shade of shrubs and deciduous trees, whose deciduous leaves render the soil particularly fertile and rich.
Among all, the most resistant and reliable species is without any doubt the Crocus tommasinianus. It is a very rustic and particularly fast growing type of plant. It has six-petalled flowers, with beautiful pastel tones, very rich in nectar. One of the advantages of the Crocus is the autonomy of reproduction: once introduced in the garden, it will reproduce by itself through seeds and bulbs. The crocuses are very generous flowering plants, capable to create spectacular effects, either planted in big spots in the middle of the grass, or planted at the base of the tree trunks.
Among the various species, the Crocus chrisanthus E.A. Bowles is the first to bloom (already by the end of winter) and has elegant cream-colored corollas, shaded of a darker color, almost brown, outside. It has a shorter stem than the others and reaches a height of 7 centimeters.
While the Crocus chrisanthus Snow Bunting is ideal for enhancing rock gardens and flowerbeds, it is also excellent for pot cultivation.
Finally, a special note is to be dedicated to the Crocus sativus, perhaps the most known and appreciated species, from whose triffid stigma we get a very precious spice: the saffron.
Let us see, below, more in detail, what are the main requirements of the crocuses and how they can be best cultivated in order to enjoy their full splendor.
When To Plant Crocuses
Crocus bulbs must be planted in early autumn.
They should be buried at a depth of about 7.5 cm and spaced about 10 cm apart.
To make the work easier, you can use useful tools such as a dustpan or a bulbs plant, especially if the quantity of bulbs to be planted is very high. One recommendation: to ensure that the bulbs bloom well in spring, you should dust them with lime. This simple precaution will prevent voles and mice from feeding on freshly planted bulbs (when the soil is still crumbly and easy to dig out), the main cause of poor and disappointing blooms in spring.
The Ideal Location For Crocuses
The best positions for crocuses are those in full sun, inside the turf, and under the light shade of shrubs or deciduous trees.
Always avoid too much shade, which is a source of excessive humidity that crocuses would not tolerate.
The crocuses do not have particular requirements about the type of soil, which must in any case be very well drained, in order to avoid that the excess of stagnant water can cause rottenness and mould to the bulbs.
How To Treat Crocuses In The First Year
There is no need to fertilize the crocuses, they are practically completely self-sufficient.
In particular, for the correct development of the crocus tommasininus, it will be necessary to let the flowers develop and wither without intervening.
In this way the seedlings will autonomously accumulate reserve nutrients which will favor a healthy and rich flowering afterwards. In addition, it will be important to avoid mowing the lawn too early when planting in the middle of a turf. This will prevent damage to newborn seedlings.
How To Grow Crocuses In Pots
The cultivation of crocuses in pots is not difficult, on the contrary, they grow without problems even in this way.
The important thing is, also in this case, to avoid water stagnation as much as possible. It is therefore essential to ensure that the pot has a good drainage hole. It is also preferable to use terracotta containers because they allow good transpiration and, therefore, the evaporation of excess moisture contained in the soil.
For the planting it is necessary to proceed in this way: first of all, place a draining layer on the bottom of the pot composed of fractured fragments and gravel mixed with soil; then proceed by planting the bulbs at a depth of about 7 and a half cm, one next to the other but avoiding that they touch each other; finally, cover them with soil, which must be kept just damp.
Always avoid watering too abundant.
Recommended Associations For Crocuses
The best associations for a lively and colorful garden at the end of winter are certainly those among crocuses, snowdrops, primroses and violets, especially in the grassy meadow. For borders and vases, on the contrary, the recommended association is with other spring bulb flowers, such as irises and early daffodils.
You will get beautiful colorful and persistent blooms throughout the spring.