Plant of the week: Crocus

With over 90 species of known Crocus, which includes C. sativus (Saffron!) This diverse genus from the Iris family can be found in bloom from Autumn to Summer in a wide variety of colours. Bees love spring flowering Crocus, which provide a great source of nectar ready to get bees off to work. Most species should be planted in a sunny position in well drained soil, with the corms being planted 3-4 cm deep.

Crocus sieberi ‘Hubert Edelsten’

Crocus sieberi 'Hubert Edelsten' - RHS
Crocus sieberi ‘Hubert Edelsten’ – RHS

This delightful; fragrant cultivar has deep purple outer petals with a white stripe at the tip and soft mauve inner petals, flowering from winter into late spring.

Cormous perennial with flowers and leaves appearing together.

Crocus sativus

Crocus sativus - RHS
Crocus sativus – RHS

C. sativus is highly prized as the most expensive spice in the world! This autumn flowering Crocus has a deep red stigma, goblet flowers which are pale purple.

Crocus laevigatus

Crocus laevigatus - RHS
Crocus laevigatus – RHS

C. laevigatus is a corm flowering in late autumn and originates from Greece. Fragrant flowers are pale purple or white with purple stripes on the outside. A bright yellow throat makes the flowers on this delicate Crocus stand out in style.

Crocus etruscus

crocus-etruscus-rhs
Crocus etruscus – RHS

The Tuscan crocus is a perennial whose flowers appear before the leaves and originates from north. north/west Italy. C. etruscus has pale lilac flowers with deep purple stripes and a distinct yellow throat, all of which makes a spectacular display of colour in spring.

Glossary

Corm:  swollen underground stems which serve as a storage organ for the plant. Externally corms look very similar to bulbs, so are often categorised as bulbs.

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