Crocus sativus

Saffron crocus

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Key information

Plant type

Spring-blooming bulb

Flower colour






Skill level


Crocus sativus

Plant details

Crocuses are spring-flowering plants native to Eastern Europe. Blooming from late-winter to early spring, they provide a much-needed source of nectar and pollen for queen bumblebees emerging from hibernation. They are easy to grow and particularly suited to growing in pots, and also naturalising in grass, where they quickly develop large carpets of colour.

The saffron crocus, Crocus sativus, flowers in autumn, producing rich lavender blooms with deep purple veins. As its name suggests it produces the cooking spice saffron, which is actually a bright red three-branched style growing from the centre of the flower. It's easy to grow the saffron crocus and harvest your own saffron, but you need around 150 flowers to produce one gram.

For best results plant Crocus sativus in autumn in gritty, well-drained soil in full sun. Plants are sterile and will not set seed, so propagate by division only.

Family: Iridaceae

Genus: Crocus

Species: sativus

Plant type: Spring-blooming bulb

Flower colour: Lavender

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Acidic, Chalky/alkaline, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 5cm

Spread: 5cm

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