How to Grow Crocus?
Posted by Ben Rotteveel on

How to Grow Crocus?

 

CROCUS PLANTING GUIDE

Crocuses might be small flowers, but they carry a powerful message: spring is around the corner! Blooming in yellow, white, purple, lilac and even orange, these hardy little fellows are a delightful start to the flower bulb season.


QUICK GUIDE

  • WHEN

Plant in fall

Blooms in late winter/early spring


  • WHERE

Hardiness zone 3-8

Full sun or partial shade

Well-draining soil


  • WATER

Once after planting

Moderately in spring


  • WIDTH & DEPTH

3” apart

2-3” deep

 

How to Plant Crocus Bulbs?


Arrival

When your DutchGrown crocuses arrive and you can’t plant them immediately, it’s important to store them correctly: unpack them right away and put them in a dry place with plenty of air circulation, where the temperature is between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.


Garden & Container Planting

Like all flower bulbs, crocuses need a cold period to develop their roots and get ready for spring. So once you feel fall’s first chill in the air, it’s time to get planting. If you live in hardiness zone 9 or higher, the soil won’t get cold enough for the root-developing process to happen, but you might consider forcing.

Crocuses are tough cookies that are easy to grow, but one thing they hate is getting their feet wet: a crocus bulb that is ‘bathing’ in water will rot in no time. So avoid soggy soil at all cost – this means places where you can still see puddles 5-6 hours after a rainstorm. Another thing you can do is to upgrade potentially soggy soil by adding organic material such as peat, bark or manure. When it comes to planting bulbs in containers, the mantra is exactly the same: drainage-drainage-drainage. Get a pot or box with at least some drainage holes at the bottom. 

Crocuses need the sun to grow, but though they adore basking in its glory all day, they can also do very well in places with dappled shade or scattered sunlight.

Crocuses will need to be planted deep enough that they won’t be affected by temperature variations above ground, either too warm or too cold. Unfortunately containers can’t protect bulbs as well as mother earth can, so when you live in hardiness zones 3-7 it might be better to let your containers spend the winter indoors, in a cool, dark, well-aired spot that won’t get warmer than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, like an unheated basement or garage.

The standard method for calculating the ideal depth is to dig a hole three times as deep as the bulb is high, and place the bulb at the bottom with its pointy end up. Since crocuses grow less well when they have to fight for nutrients with their fellow bulbs, it’s best to plant them 3” apart.

To help the bulbs settle and grow roots quickly, it’s important to water them well after planting, but after that you won’t have to water them again. Now all you have to do is wait patiently for winter to do its magic underground, and spring to surprise you with the rewards of your work. 

During blooming season, you generally don’t have to water your crocuses, but you can water them when there hasn’t been any rain for 3-5 days. 

After crocuses have finished blooming, don’t cut the foliage straight away: through photosynthesis the leaves will create nutrients that the bulb will be needing for its next growing season. After a few weeks the foliage will automatically yellow and die back, and then you can remove it. Now the bulb will be going dormant, and won’t need any watering until next spring. 


How to plant crocuses in your garden:

  1. Wait until the soil is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. In the North this will be in September or October, in the South in October or November.
  2. Pick a spot in your garden that has well-draining soil and gets full sun or partial shade.
  3. Plant the crocus bulbs about 2-3” deep and 3” apart, placing them in the ground with their pointy ends up.
  4. Water well once and wait for spring
  5. After the crocuses have bloomed don’t cut off the foliage. Leave it until it’s completely withered and yellow, then remove.

How to Plant Crocus Bulbs in Your Garden?

 

How to plant crocuses in containers:

  1. Wait until it’s cold outside, with a soil temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. In the North this will be in September or October, in the South in October or November.
  2. Pick a spot in your garden that gets full sun or partial shade.
  3. Find a well-draining container and fill it with loose soil, making sure water won’t gather and stay at the bottom.
  4. Plant the crocus bulbs about 2-3” deep and 3” apart, placing them in the soil with their pointy ends up. Since containers often have limited space, you can also experiment with placing the bulbs closer together, but make sure they never touch.  
  5. Water well once and wait for spring, or, when you live in hardiness zone 3-7, water well and bring the containers indoors, letting them spend the winter in a cool spot like an unheated garage or basement. 
  6. After the crocuses have bloomed don’t cut off the foliage. Leave it until it’s completely withered and yellow, then remove.

How to Plant and Grow Crocus Bulbs?


Special 'Flower Bulbs'

Even though we’ve been talking about bulbs when referring to how to plant crocuses, they actually grow from a tuber called a corm. True bulbs are like onions: layers of skin and an embryo of the plant it will eventually turn into. Corms on the other hand are like batteries: solid masses of food with a plate on the bottom and eyes or buds on top. Plant the corms with the buds facing upwards. During growth the corm is consumed by the plant itself, which also creates new corms for next season, making crocuses naturalizing flowers.

 

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