Crocus Sativus, also known as the Saffron crocus, has been celebrated for its pretty purple flowers and exquisite saffron spice for over 2000 years! Did you know that saffron is heralded as the most expensive spice in the world? It can take over 40,000 saffron crocus blooms to produce just 1lb of saffron spice. However, we think that you will find that growing crocus sativus for your own use will be significantly easier and deliciously rewarding. A year's worth of saffron can be obtained from planting just a couple dozen bulbs.
Planting saffron crocus bulbs:
- In the Fall, choose a spot that is mostly sunny or has only light shade. Also make sure that the location has fairly good drainage and does not tend to get waterlogged. Try for a soil with some organic matter that gets dry during the summer months.
- Planting saffron crocus bulbs is fairly simple. Bulbs look much like a small onion, with wiry roots growing out of one site and a spike on the other. Plant with the roots pointing down and the spike pointing up.
- Follow the rule of thumb when planting bulbs and give the bulbs at least 2 times their height of soil above them. Dig a 2-3 inch hole, drop the bulb into it and cover with soil.
- Regarding the spacing between bulbs, if planting in beds, leave approx 3 inches between each bulb. If you are planting in containers, you can cluster them a little closer together.
- After planting, water well so that the soil above the bulbs settles.
- Saffron crocus bulbs will flower very quickly, about 6-8 weeks after planting!
- The best time to harvest the saffron spice is during the morning hours when the flower is fresh and the bloom is fully open. Use your fingers to pluck the stigmas from the blooms then preserve them for later cooking use by placing them in a warm location so that they can dry out. After the stigmas are dry, store them in a closed container to maintain their freshness.