How to Grow Saffron
Saffron crocuses are easy to grow and will bring fragrance and brilliant jewel colors to your fall garden.
Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice and is sometimes described as red gold. The violet blooms of the saffron crocus appear in the fall and their red stigmas can be harvested for their many health benefits or for culinary use. Our guide tells you everything you need to know about how to grow saffron yourself.
When to plant saffron crocuses
Saffron corms or bulbs should be planted as soon as you receive them. They need a sunny spot and must be planted at least 8 weeks before the chance of frost. In zones 3 - 6 you should plant your saffron crocuses during the end of August and September. In zones 7 - 10, September is the best time for planting, either in borders, under trees or in pots. After planting they start blooming in 5-8 weeks.
How to grow saffron crocus successfully
Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Plant the bulbs 2" - 4" deep with the pointed end upwards, allowing 12 bulbs per square foot. Alternatively, for a natural look, scatter the bulbs randomly under trees or in borders. If planting saffron crocuses in a pot, use a free-draining soil. They will bloom the first fall season and just produce foliage in spring. Once established, they should bloom one more year. That's the reason why professional saffron growers buy fresh stock every two years.
How to harvest saffron crocus
When the saffron crocus blooms first open, carefully remove the delicate red stigmas using tweezers - there are three stigmas on each plant. Once you know how to grow saffron, you can harvest the stigmas and use them fresh or dry them for future use. To save them for later, spread the stigmas on a paper towel and leave in a warm, dry place for several days, then store in an airtight container.Saffron crocuses are not difficult to grow and as summer fades, they will bring scent and color to your garden in fall. Now that you know how to grow saffron crocus, why not try combining them with spring-blooming crocuses for maximum effect?