7 Types of Crocus Flowers With Great Colors
The Amazing Thing About Crocus Flowers
The fantastic thing about Crocus Flowers is that you can have them Flowering in the garden for ten months of the year, from September to June.
Crocus Flowers kick off with the purple, blue Crocus fanatics and ending with the yellow Crocus Flowers (cvijivii).
More than 80 varieties of Crocus Flowers, including expensive collectors’ items, need special conditions.
And if you get hooked on Crocuses, you can grow them in great swarms, like the great Irish writer William Robinson (1838-1935) who planted over 5,000 bulbs at his Sussex home, Gravetye Manor.
The Origin of Crocus Flowers
According to legend, the Greek Gods Zeus & Hura loved each other so passionately that the land where they lived burst open with Crocuses.
Crocus Flowers were brought to England from France by Jean Robin, a Director of Gardens in Paris. But they came to the United States on ships by settlers who planted Crocus Flowers around their cabins.
The Crocus Flowers were famous for both aesthetic and practical reasons in the ancient world.
The Legend of Crocus Flowers
A Flower so popular inspired many myths. A favorite is one that involves not a single mean-spirited thought or act, no jealousy, no murder — only love.
Young Crocus was a shepherd boy of a fair and noble spirit. He fell deeply in love with the lovely nymph Smilax. Impressed were the gods with the depth of his devotion that they granted him immortality in a time-honored way. Yep, they turned him into a Flower. Smilax got her eternal reward as an evergreen, the yew, to ensure that they could be forever together.
Crocus Flower – Source of Saffron
Crocus found usage in medicine, as food, and as a dye source, a Flower of ritual and ornament.
They are also associated with ceremonies. Its petals were scattered on the ground at social gatherings and the marital bed after a wedding.
Crocus essence is an ingredient for perfume, and, of course, the stamens of autumn-flowering Crocus sativus are the source of saffron.
Saffron is a costly spice, and Iran produces 90%.
Where to find Crocus Flowers?
The best places to see Crocuses growing in the wild are in southern Europe and around the Mediterranean.
Crocus goulimyi is a gorgeous sight of south Greece, turning the land lilac-blue under the olive trees. The yellow Crocus chrysanthus, which provided terrific cultivars such as ‘Zwanenburg Bronze’ (yellow within and bronze outside), grows in Turkey. The scented violet Crocus longiflorus lights up the island of Malta.
But don’t expect to see Crocuses in Saffron Waldon in Essex. The town got its name in the mid-fourteenth century because it was packed with weavers who used the rich yellow saffron dye from Crocus sativus.
Everyone thinks that saffron Crocus can only be grown in the Mediterranean because it likes the baking heat and good drainage, and the sharp autumn drop in soil temperature when yellow Flowers appear. Well-drained neutral soil in a south-facing, sunny sheltered garden is the best. It is a time-consuming job; you need to pick the three red stigmas on each of the 150 Flowers to make one gram of saffron. Dry the stigmas and store them in an airtight container.
Types of Crocus Flowers – Pictures of Crocus Flowers
You will generally find two types of Crocus for sale at your local garden center; one is spring Flowering, and the other is for autumn Flowering varieties. The former is a boon, flaring up in the first damp grey days of spring.
Many are beautifully veined and striped, like the exquisite Crocus Corsica, which is cream and purple, and many are two-toned, such as ‘Ladykiller,’ which has striking mauve blotches that pep up the white petals.
The best of the spring Crocus Flowers is the ting pale blue Crocus baytopiorum from Turkey.
This variety of Crocus Flower is usually a more expensive bulb, but worth it, and the pinkish violet Crocus etruscus ‘Rosalind.’
The terrific Crocus chyrsanthus cultivars, now numbering about 35, are sold widely in good US garden centers.
There’s ‘Snowbunting’ with a lovely smell of honey, ‘Cream Beauty’ the lemon yellow Crocus Flower, and they all peak in March.
For a more prominent, bolder, reliable display, you need the large Dutch hybrid types of Crocus. They grow five inches high, that’s about two inches higher than the rest.
Look for the early lilac ‘Enchantress,’ ‘Mammouth Yellow,’ the purple Crocus Flower ‘Purpureus Grandiflorus’, and ‘Queen of the Blues.’
They multiply well, doubling their numbers in about three years.
If you want a crack at something different, there’s Crocus sieberi sublimis ‘Tricolor,’ banded white, yellow, lilac, and white Crocus Versicolor ‘Picturatus,’ striped purple inside against a white background.
The stars of the autumn-winter Crocuses begin with Crocus tommasianus. For great swathes of Crocuses across a late winter lawn, this is the one to get. It’s a rapid self-seeder, the furled buds opening flat in even the weakest winter suns.
‘Ruby Giant’ is a striking violet purple Crocus Flower, which goes well with the excellent white Crocus tommasianus albus; ‘Barr’s Purple’ and ‘Whitewell Purple’ also add plenty of zipping at this drab time of year.
The well-scented Crocus speciosus is equally excellent and gets rave reviews from top gardeners. It’s not an aggressive invader, grows well in grass, is one of the bluest Crocuses (networked by attractive dark blue veins), and has a significant bright orange-red stigma. It’s not perfect and lies down within two days of appearing as the stems aren’t strong enough.
If that’s put you off, and it shouldn’t, go for the rich rosy lilac Crocus nudiflorus. Even though these types of Crocus Flowers are purple most of the time, you may find some great varieties with a soft pink color.
Anyone after something special must get Crocus banaticus, a genuine gem. The rich lilac Flower (paler within) is more like an iris and stands out from the rest of the Crocus family. The white form can cost quite a lot more than its more commonplace cousins, but the stunning display given is well worth it.
To end the year on a high, get Crocus laevigatus. The best form is the large lilac, ‘Fontenayi,’ which is entirely hardy, although it does best with shelter. So, don’t forget. Ten minutes planting, that’s all, then it’s years and years of benefit.
How to plant Crocus Flowers?
All types of Crocuses generally need a bright sunny position and good drainage (the rarer specialized bulbs may need careful cosseting in an alpine house, so you carefully monitor the watering). Plant the spring-Flowering types of Crocus in the autumn, and the autumn kind in late summer, three inches deep.
When naturalizing them in the grass, cut out three sides of an imagined square on the ground, going right through the turf. Peel it back, lightly prong the soil if it is compacted, scatter the corms about three inches apart, adding a touch of bonemeal, and firm down the turf. Don’t mow the area until the leaves have died back because they help build up crucial energy supplies for next year’s display. Mice are Crocuses’ only real enemy.