Crocus etruscus Parl.
Bloom Time: Early spring
Crocus etruscus is a cormous perennial with flowers appearing before the leaves. It grows up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) tall. The lilac flowers with purple veining and prominent orange stigmas appear in early spring.
USDA hardiness zone 6a to 8b: from −10 °F (−23.3 °C) to 20 °F (−6.7 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Crocus bulbs need well-drained soil in a sunny to a partially sunny location. They thrive in a soil pH of 6 to 7 and tolerate a wide range of soils. You may even grow Crocus on the lawn, but be careful as they will naturalize and spread to become a potential nuisance.
Plant the Crocus bulbs in groups in the garden bed for impact or even under trees, as they need little root space. Bulbs are planted 3 inches (7.5 cm) deep and 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) apart. Provide mulch over the planting area in very cold zones, but rake it away in early spring so the flowers can emerge. Gardeners in zones where the winters are too harsh or too warm to plant in fall can force the Crocus bulbs indoors in time for spring planting.
Animals can be a big problem with Crocus bulbs. Squirrels and other rodents will dig up the bulbs and eat them, and deer graze on the early foliage. You can cover the spring bulb bed with wire mesh to prevent squirrel damage, and there are deer repellents you can try to prevent their feeding on your flowers.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Crocus.
This species is endemic to the woodlands of Central Tuscany (Italy).
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