Spring flowering crocus are very easy to plant and grow, and most will come back year after year, and even multiply, if planted and cared for properly.
Crocus flowers close during the night and open during the day.
You can use them in borders, rock gardens, under deciduous trees, or even in the lawn. (You won’t be able to cut the grass until the leaves have died down if you plant them in the lawn.)
They are also easy to force, meaning you can plant them in a pot, hold them in a cold spot like a cold cellar or garage for twelve weeks, and then bring them inside the house in late January for an early burst of spring color.
Crocus are technically corms, not bulbs, but they are usually lumped in with the term ‘bulbs’.
How to plant crocus
Plant your crocus corms from early October into early November – at least four weeks before the ground starts freezing. This will allow them to get established before winter comes.
Plant crocus about 3 to 4 inches deep and about 2 inches apart.
The most important thing to remember about crocus is that they like well-drained soil. They will rot if planted in wet soil. Add some gravel chips or sand to the bottom of your planting hole if you’re worried about drainage. This will also discourage underground critters like mice and chipmunks from eating the corms.
Choose a sunny spot for your crocus. This is why planting under deciduous trees is okay – in early spring those trees won’t yet have leaves on them so it’ll still be fairly sunny for the emerging crocus.
Water the corms after you’ve planted them.
When they have finished flowering in the spring allow them to die back naturally – the leaves must be able to photosynthesize to get ready for the next year’s blooms.
The most common colors are blues and purples, but you’ll also find them in yellow and white. A typical English garden will use a variety of colors rather than just one. Here are some of my favorites:
Crocus tomasinianus is one of the best for naturalizing. They’re all shades of lavender and the flower petals form a star.
Ruby Giant is one of the most popular.
Crocus chrysanthus usually has bi-colored flowers. Try:
Snow Bunting – white with purple veins.
Blue Pearl – light blue outside and white inside.
E.A. Bowles – golden yellow flowers streaked with purple.
Cream Beauty – gorgeous shades of creamy yellow
Crocus vernus is commonly known as Dutch Crocus and is usually bigger than the other crocus. Easy to find varieties include:
Flower Record – violet
Pickwick – unusual striped white and blue
Joan of Arc – virtuous white