One of the most popular species, Crocus vernus is an early spring blooming bulb that is widely grown in gardens or used for winter forcing. Its flowers are larger than any other of the crocuses, hence its common names of large flowering crocus or giant crocus. They range from yellow, white and purple to striped or bronze. Many popular hybrids of this crocus have been developed over the years.
- Blooming occurs in early spring for about three weeks. The calyx-shaped flowers open only when the sun shines or when there is a lot of light; they close up in rainy weather and at night. Did you know that crocus bulbs remaining in the ground will always bloom a bit earlier than the ones planted the previous year?
- Growing up to 4-6 inches tall (10-15 cm), this beauty naturalizes easily and will come back year after year!
- Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun or light shade.
- Stunning in beds, lawns, under trees, rock gardens, in front of shrubs, along walkways. Spectacular in large sweeping drifts. For optimal effect, 100 to 150 corms should be planted. If used in lawns, however, the grass may not be mowed until six weeks after the crocuses have bloomed. If mowed earlier than this, the newly forming cormlets (developing on top of the mother corm) will not become large enough to flower next year.
- To be planted in fall.
Crocus vernus 'Pickwich', Tulip 'Early Harvest'
Very few early-flowering bulbous, tuberous and cormous plants are so massively planted as the Crocus. Together with tulips, hyacinths and narcissi, these plants are the most commonly found 'bulb' plants in gardens and parks. More than 100 species are known, but only thirty have been cultivated. Some crocuses flower in the fall, but these are fairly rare. Crocuses are lovely in lawns as well as in the perennial border where they join the other very early perennials in ringing in the flowering season.
More planting tips: Crocuses are indispensable for each and every garden. They join snowdrops, winter aconites and glory-of-the-snow as the very first heralds of spring. The bright yellow ones so often seen bring the first bit of ’warmth’ to the new year. One familiar use for crocuses is in the lawn. Here, one should try to achieve as natural-looking effect as possible. This can be done, not by grouping the corms together, but by scattering them about and then planting them where they fall.
Any and all crocuses make a pretty sight in the perennial plant border. Far before any of the vast majority of the perennial plants, the crocuses will be busy cheering up the garden. The smaller crocuses can be combined with many early perennial plants such as Pulmonaria (Lungwort), Helleborus (Christmas rose), Hepatica , Primula (Primrose) and Pulsatilla (Pasque flower).
Because of their lack of foliage mass and early flowering, crocuses are very suitable for planting on top of other bulbous plants. Afterward, such bulbous plants as hyacinths, tulips and narcissi can easily take over the flowering duties from the early-flowering crocuses. The layering method (lasagna method) is simple. First plant the larger bulbs and cover them with soil up to the level of their noses. Then plant the crocuses on top, being sure to plant a generous amount of them. This will produce a lovely effect and can be applied both in the garden soil as well as in containers. The winter hardiness of most crocuses makes their use in containers quite possible. The large yellow crocus, however, is somewhat susceptible to frost damage. One drawback, of course, is that crocuses fade quickly. This means that a container filled with crocuses alone will not remain attractive long. Planting crocuses with other bulbous plants, especially those that flower somewhat later, is a better solution.