Crocus

How to grow crocuses

Discover everything you need to know about growing crocuses, in this Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do not Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does flower in February

Plant does flower in March

Plant does flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does flower in September

Plant does flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Crocuses bring a burst of colour to the garden in spring and autumn.

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Carpets of the small purple, yellow and white flowering corms make a joyful display from late winter onwards. They also provide a much-needed source of nectar and pollen for pollinating insects just emerging into the early spring sunshine. Native to Eastern Europe, these are easy to grow bulbs and are well-suited to growing in pots, and naturalising in grass.

Take a look at our handy crocus Grow Guide, below.

Native to Eastern Europe, these are easy to grow bulbs and are well-suited to growing in pots, and naturalising in grass.

Naturalised planting of Crocus tommasinianus 'Whitewell Purple'
Naturalised planting of Crocus tommasinianus ‘Whitewell Purple’

Where to plant crocuses

Most crocus varieties need to be planted in a sunny, open position. They’ll successfully naturalise in grass to make a lovely spring meadow. Certain species, such as Crocus gargaricus, need moist, but well-drained soil and will grow in partial shade too.

Crocuses can be grown in pots, either on their own, or mixed with other spring-flowering bulbs. Add plenty of grit for drainage.

Watch our video advice on how to layer bulbs in a pot.

Planting crocus bulbs in a lawn
Planting crocus bulbs in a lawn

How to plant crocuses

Soil should be well-drained, or very gritty and free-draining for most types of crocus. Saffron crocus and other autumn flowering varieties need to be planted quite deep – about 10cm in well-drained, rich soil in a sunny situation and 7.5cm apart.

Make sure you plant your crocus corms with pointed tip going upwards and the flattened end at the bottom of your planting hole.

Follow our step-by-step guide to planting bulbs in lawns.

You can also plant crocuses in borders, near plants that die back over winter. Watch Monty Don in this video.

Crocus 'Jeanne Darc'
Crocus ‘Jeanne Darc’

Crocus care

If you have crocuses that have naturalised in grass, don’t cut the lawn until the flowers have died and the leaves have yellowed and disappeared.

Spring-flowering forms come into flower as the sun warms up the soil. However, autumn-flowering crocuses respond to decreasing soil temperatures. So in milder autumns flowering may not be so vigorous if the nights aren’t cool enough.

Planting crocus bulbs in small terracotta pots
Planting crocus bulbs in small terracotta pots

Propagating crocuses

Crocuses will multiply once established and create their own colonies. If you want to propagate your collection, dig up large clumps in autumn and split them into smaller ones, or clean off individual corms and pot up.

Crocuses: problem solving

Crocuses are relatively trouble-free, although newly planted bulbs may fall prey to hungry squirrels in the autumn, so it’s worth netting grassy areas, or covering pots with wire mesh.

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Crocus sativus
Crocus sativus

Crocus varieties to try

  • Crocus ‘Violet Queen’ – a beautiful deep-violet, spring flowering cultivar
  • Crocus x culturum ‘Jeanne d’Arc’ – one of a group of Dutch hybrids with larger corms that can be planted deeper in the ground and in thicker grass. Flowers are white with purple staining
  • Crocus tommasinianus ‘Whitewell Purple’ – a cultivar with pale purple flowers on strong stems, grows well in herbaceous borders
  • Crocus sativus – the saffron crocus produces purple flowers in autumn. The bright red style at the centre of the flower produces the delicate yellow strands of cooking saffron. But you need around 150 flowers to produce one gram. They need digging up and replanting into fresh soil every 4-5 years
  • Crocus speciosus ‘Albus’ RHS AGM – an all white form of this autumn flowering species. It suits light shade or can be planted under deciduous shrubs. Plant in late summer to flower in September/October