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Among the first of the bulbs to flower in the new year, crocuses can be used towards the front of a border, in lawns in drifts or in shallow containers.
Goblet-shaped flowers, in white, yellow, lilac or purple, appear among grassy leaves in late winter to mid-spring, sometimes opening to reveal central blotches. Petals are sometimes boldly striped outside.
Early crocuses need soil that drains easily and flower best in full sun. They can thrive around deciduous shrubs and trees whose branches are bare when the bulbs are flowering.
These bulbs dislike very heavy, permanently wet soils and will not flower in shade.
The early C. tommasinianus, with silvery-lilac flowers, is one of the best for naturalising. In suitable conditions, it will seed itself to develop extensive drifts.
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.