A genus of probably one hundred species from
the Mediterranean region and extending to south-west
Asia. The foliage is narrow, channelled, erect
and grass-like. The flowers, which are funnel-shaped,
are borne on long slender tubes that rise from
amid the foliage; when extended they vary from
one to two inches across.
Among the spring-flowering species are Crocusbalansae,
the only orange-yellow March flowering form;
Crocus tommasinianus, pale lavender;
Crocus susianus, rich yellow in mid-winter;
Crocus biflorus, the Scotch Crocus, varying from white
to lavender. Among those that bloom in autumn;
Crocus clusii, from Spain and pale to deep purple;
Crocus longiflorus, with fragrant flowers or rosy
lilac with yellow base;
Crocus nudiflorus, clear violet, blooming in autumn
before the foliage, which appears in spring, are
noteworthy, but there are many others of garden
Plant in late summer or early autumn in well-drained
soil in sunny positions.
Propagate by separating the corms or from seed.
The flowering season is from February to April
for spring flowering and from September to December
for autumn flowering forms.
Hardy “bulb” (corm).
Four to six inches.
Flowers of several colours, February to April.
Without question the best of spring bulbs for
its accumulated excellencies; its earliness, its
hardiness and rapid increase, its vividness and
harmony of colour, its thriving in almost any
soil and its cheapness.
The roots, which accurately
speaking are not bulbs, but corms, like the Snowdrop
and the Gladiolus, should be planted about two
inches deep not later than October.
planting is deferred until the corm has made a
considerable top growth, which weakens it seriously.
The crocus may be planted in patches of a dozen
in borders, or in rows (two or three deep) as
an edging to them, or may be given a whole bed
of any size to itself.
In all these methods the
corms should be about two inches apart; and each
patch, row or bed should be of one separate colour,
not mixed. The only case in which mixed crocuses
are desirable is on planting in grass; here the
effect is one of random scattering, and the beauty
of massed colour is not so suitable.
possesses a lawn or piece of turf which need not
be mown till May, should not fail to plant it
thickly but irregularly with mixed crocuses in
October; the corms should be two inches below
the grass; they may be put in with a trowel, or
sods of turf may be lifter with the spade, the
corms inserted and the turf returned.
the roots will increase undisturbed for several
It is important that the leaves which follow
the flowers should not be cut off before they
have finished their growth; hence the necessity
to avoid mowing the grass in which they grow until
well into May.
Crocus in beds which are needed
for later occupants may be taken up and dried
in the sun as soon as their leaves show signs
of withering; clumps and lines in borders may
be left untouched for as much as ten years; with
time they form thick masses of bloom, incomparably
finer than the “dotted” effect of
newly-planted roots, but the crowding must not
be allowed to go too far, and the clumps must
be forked up and divided before there is any deterioration
in size and quality of the flowers.
suffers from the attacks of mice on the roots;
and in early spring the flowers are often torn
to pieces by sparrows. Mice must be trapped –
wire traps of the “break-back” pattern
are the best – sparrows may be circumvented
by stretching thin black cotton over the clumps
on small sticks; the thread should be an inch
or two above the flowers, and crossed several
times. The following are the best of the named
• Sir Walter Scott – white, lilac
• David Rizzio – deep purple.
• King of the Blues – purple, very
• Margo – pale mauve.
• Mont Blanc – pure white.
• Queen of Sheba – large yellow.
• Prince Albert – violet.