© RHS / Tim Sandall


Spring-flowering crocus

Botanical name: Crocus

Among the first of the bulbs to flower in the gardening year, crocuses can be used towards the front of a border, in lawn drifts or in shallow containers. Cultivars of C. vernus are especially good for forcing for early blooms  indoors.


Goblet-shaped flowers, in white, yellow, lilac or purple, appear among grassy leaves in late winter to mid-spring. Petals (tepals) are sometimes boldly striped outside and may open to reveal central blotches. Many crocuses are also lightly scented.


Early crocuses need soil that drains well. They generally flower best in full sun, but some like C. tommasinianus thrive under deciduous trees and shrubs whose branches are bare when the bulbs are in flower. The so-called Dutch hybrids of C. vernus with their larger corms are happy growing through turf so are a good choice for lawns. Most are suited for growing in containers.


These bulbs (corms) dislike very heavy, permanently wet soils and will not flower in shade that's cast when they are in growth and flower.

Did you know?

The early C. tommasinianus, with silvery-lilac flowers, is one of the best for naturalising. In suitable conditions like sparse grass and under deciduous trees, it will seed itself and create extensive drifts of slender blooms.

Growing guide

Browse crocus

Choosing Crocus by flowering season

Spring flowering crocuses we recommend

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Useful advice

Bulbs: naturalising

Bulbs: naturalising

Containers: winter selection

Containers: winter selection

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