How do I grow saffron crocus bulbs?
Posted by Dobies Staff on 21 November 2013 03:43 pm

The Saffron Crocus is hardy and flowers in the autumn before it becomes dormant in April once the foliage dies back. Flowering will commence approximately 40 days from planting although some bulbs will not flower in the first year. Each bulb may produce up to 6 or more flowers over a period of 15 days.

The bulbs should be planted 10-15cm (4-6") deep and 10-15cm (4-6") apart in a sheltered, warm, sunny position.  Saffron Crocus prefers a well drained soil in a position that dries out when the plants are dormant.  (Dry soil  in dormancy prevents the bulbs rotting and aids formation of the flowers for the following autumn).  An ideal position would be at the base of a south facing wall or in containers that could be moved into a greenhouse between April and September. 

Each bulb will only last one season and will be replaced by 1-10 new ones.   The new bulbs produced grow above the old ones and will gradually creep nearer the surface so it will be necessary to lift and replant them every few years.  This is best done in August. 

To obtain saffron, the 25mm red stigmas need to be carefully removed with tweezers in the morning, as soon as the flowers are fully open.  This needs to be done quickly as the flowers barely last a day before they wither.   Dry the strands off on tissue paper in a dark place and they can then be stored in an airtight container.   

NB. Although the bulbs we supply are of the highest quality, it is possible that some will not flower in the first year.   Occasionally some bulbs may need a full season to enable them to reach the size and maturity needed to produce a flower. 

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