Crocus vernus (L.) Hill
Dutch Crocus, Spring Crocus, Giant Crocus
Crocus acutiflorus, Crocus albiflorus, Crocus appendiculatus, Crocus caeruleus, Crocus heuffelianus subsp. albiflorus, Crocus montanus, Crocus montenegrinus, Crocus napolitanus, Crocus parviflorus, Crocus pygmaeus, Crocus rubens, Crocus sativus var. vernus, Crocus vilmae, Ixia vernalis
Color: Purple, yellow or white
Bloom Time: Early spring
Crocus vernus is a perennial that grows from a bulb or corm, with delicate goblet-shaped flowers with a large range of color variants, but usually found in purple, yellow, or white. It is up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall. Flowers bloom in early spring for about three weeks. They close at night and open up in the morning but usually remain closed on rainy/cloudy days. The foliage yellows as plants go dormant several weeks after bloom.
USDA hardiness zone 3a to 8b: from −40 °F (−40 °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 are tolerant of 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 will 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.
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