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Crocus sativus
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

saffron crocus

An autumn-flowering corm. It produces large, goblet flowers in pale purple with a red stigma

Other common names
blood of Thoth
saffron
see moreSt Valentine's rose
Synonyms
Crocus sativus var. cashmirianus

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Size
Ultimate height
Up to 10cm
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0–0.1 metre
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer
Autumn Purple Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Iridaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Potentially harmful
Ornamental bulbs - not to be eaten. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Crocus are dwarf, deciduous perennials growing from a corm, with linear leaves usually with a silvery central stripe, and goblet-shaped, sometimes fragrant flowers in autumn or early spring

Name status

Correct

Plant range
E. Mediterranean

How to grow

Cultivation

Requires a sunny, free-draining site in the border. Plant 10cm (4in) deep. Pick stigmas for drying as a flavouring and food colourant (saffron). See crocus cultivation for more advice

Propagation

Propagate by division of clumps or by propagate by seed

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Gravel garden
  • Patio and container plants
  • Mediterranean climate plants
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

May be susceptible to rodents and birds

Diseases

Generally disease-free, corms may rot in storage

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