How to plant crocuses

How to plant crocuses

Are crocuses Bulbs or Corms?

Crocuses are corms, which means they grow in a particular way. The body of the corm is a solid mass of starchy food storage. They are hard but they should still look plump and fresh. The best size for crocus is a size of over 7cm diameter. 
The flower grows by creating a new stem from the top of the corm. Once the food supply is all used up the base of the stem will turn into the new corm.

How to plant Crocus

Crocus like a sandy soil, they can cope with quite dry conditions. They need lots of sun. Use 70-100 corms per square metre. They look fantastic when planted in large groups.

How deep to plant Crocus

Plant crocus 8-10cm deep. If you plant them too deep they will struggle to break through the surface of the soil. 

How to protect crocus from squirrels and mice

We haven’t found the definitive answer to this long standing problem. These are clever little creatures that love to eat crocus. You can plant them a little deeper, and if the situation allows place a mesh over the top of them. Plant with daffodils and alliums to try and deter them. 

The best time to plant crocus

Autumn flowering crocus need to be in the ground by September to flower the same year. October is the best month to plant species and large flowering crocus but you can plant as late as December and they will still flower in spring.

What are the different crocus types?

  • Autumn flowering crocus are usually purple flowers with long anthers. Sativus is the ‘saffron crocus’ and you can eat the red anthers but most crocus bulbs are very high in alkids that will cause poisoning. 
  • Large flowering crocus are limited in colours, purple, yellow, white and striped but they make up for it with their size. Flowers of at least 5cm long that open wide in the sunlight. These are very vibrant flowers. Try mixing White and purple, purple and striped or mixing them all together for a colourful patchwork carpet of flowers. 
  • Species crocus are the smallest but perhaps most colourful. They are packed with intircate stripes and variations of colour. Although they may be small, planted in large numbers they make a big impact. 

Why should I plant crocus?

Not only are crocus bulbs a welcome sight in early spring, they are essential for early rising pollinators. Bees will love to jump from snowdrop to crocus getting their first feed of the year. 

Are crocus perennial?

Providing the crocus are happy in their position you do not need to disturb them. They will eventually spread and return each year. You can easily top them up if the numbers start to fade after a few years.

Can I plant crocus in my lawn?

Aside from beds and containers many people choose to plant crocus corms in their lawns. The flowers are early enough to come and go before the lawn will need mowing in spring. If you like to cut your lawn early be careful not to cut the foliage as this is still feeding up the bulbs ready for next year. This can take you into April. 

Potential problems, pests and diseases:

As with all new and tender shoots, slugs and snails are something of a pest. Crocus corms also make a tasty snack for squirrels so if you have them in your garden, be sure to protect your corms by planting deeply and covering with holly leaves or a mesh cover. Finally, watch out for aphids as the weather warms: they can carry infection and should be kept at bay with a weak solution of soapy water.

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