Crocus Flowers are Easy To Grow And Here Are Some You Want in Your Spring Garden

Every spring, it seems I write and say that my Crocus have started blooming and they are the earliest flower in the garden.

The bright yellow of the C. chrysanthus when they lead off the garden blooming season stays with me for an entire year's gardening pleasure.

Easiest To Grow

It seems that crocus are one of the easiest of bulbs to grow and because of this, gardeners hold them in small esteem. Cheap in the stores, and plentiful in the gardens, these charmers should be planted in huge drifts in our gardens and wild areas. "More is better!" shrieks the flower lover in me.

Planting Crocus

Plant them in as much sun as you have, space them 3-4 inches apart, put them down 2-3 inches deep, and plant lots of them in the same area. Groupings of 20 to 30 in each spot will give you a good show.

A brief warning to the wise if I may, yellow crocus do well close to the house where the dogs tend to chase away the smaller birds and starlings. Planted far away from the house, the birds peck at the yellow flowers while they ignore the other colours. I have the devil of a time keeping yellow plants growing outside of the dog’s area.


Let me also suggest to you that the established clumps bloom earlier in the spring than first year plantings. Don't plan your garden colours around first year bloom times.

planting bulbs

Crocus vernus naturalized


C. chrysanthus is the first little charmer I want to mention. They come in a wide range of colours, including such lovely bloomers as 'Rememberance' with its deep violet blooms, 'Goldilocks' with a sunshine yellow and 'Purity' a white bloomer. You won't go wrong with any of these.

The bulbs you'll normally see in the garden centres are the large flowering hybrid forms of crocus. These large flowering types are the result of many years of intense hybridization in Holland and give us the largest flowers in the most intense shades imaginable. The do flower a week or so later than C. crysanthus so by planting both, you can extend the bloom time in the spring.

Force Crocus

Let me note that if you are going to try to force some crocus bulbs by planting them in pots and plunging the pots in the garden, these hybrids are the ones to choose. If you see crocus in flower arrangements in the spring, these are the ones being used. You can easily do this yourself.

You might also search out some C. vernus bulbs. These are one of the late blooming forms and extend the season another week or so. They like a bit more water and slightly deeper planting than other crocus bulbs and are well worth the effort.

Watch Water

Some people complain that their crocus bulbs never last very long in the garden. The major reason for this is that they are getting too much water during the summer. This bulb likes its summer soil dry and hot while its spring and fall garden area can be a tad damper. Never plant it in areas where you will grow summer annuals. If you water the annuals enough to get them to bloom well, you are giving the crocus too much water and shortening their life. The exception to this is C. vernus. Plant it under your annuals and both annuals and crocus will thrive.

Crocus are a marvelous bulb for tucking into lawns or wilder areas of the garden. If you can find some C. nudiflorus at your favourite specialty garden store, they are one of the best for this environment as grasslands are their native habitat. I have some of these at the end of my driveway that have been there for twenty years or more now. Every spring they pop up from the rocky, grassy area before anything else has even thought about growing. We enjoy their blooms for a week or so and then they fade away. The leaves get a chance to grow and replenish the bulb before the grass starts to cover it over for another year.

Book cover spring bulbs

Long Lived

I find that some parts of my lawn have crocus still in them from an enthusiastic planting twenty years ago. I tucked a few here and there over the farm to see how they would grow in different areas.

They've done well on the lawn. They bloom well ahead of the grass starting to grow and by the time the grass is high enough to mow, they are finished for the season. Mowing the grass gives the leaves a bit more time to store sunlight and they have thrived in this spot. If their leaves get a touch high, they get mown as well but this has never hurt them. I expect they will start to fade away in the next few years as the maple tree over them gets larger and shades them out. I'll just have to look for another area to plant for the next twenty years of dreaming and enjoyment.

planting bulbs

Crocus vernus 'Pickwick'

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