How To Plant Crocuses And Proper Crocus Flower Care

(Image credit: HHelene)

Crocuses are among one of the most popular of the early spring bloomers. Whether you plant them in a stately group or use them to naturalize your lawn, crocuses can add a bit of color to your lawn. With a little crocus flower care, these plants will last a lifetime.

Information about Crocus Bulbs or Corms

An early spring bloomer, crocus "bulbs" are technically corms. Like corms, they have a definite up end and down end. They are solid inside like a potato if you cut them open and they have a papery outer covering which is called a tunic. The crocus corm that you plant in autumn gets completely used in the process of growing and flowering the following spring; it will simply dissolve and fade away. Right before the crocus plant goes dormant, it will make a new corm. In fact, each crocus usually makes many corms.

Where to Plant Crocuses

Crocuses thrive in cold to moderate winter conditions, such as those in climate zones 3 to 7. They will fail to grow in hot climates. Crocuses are small corms, so they dry out faster than large bulbs. The best time to plant crocus is early in autumn, as soon as you can buy them. Plant them in the open rather than the shade (unless you live in the south) because crocuses like plenty of sunshine. You can plant them in the lawn, but for proper crocus care, don't cut the grass until their leaves turn yellow and disappear. Remember too, that weed killers will harm them, especially if you apply them while the crocus plant leaves are still green and actively growing. Crocuses prefer a gritty or sandy, well-drained soil. A rock garden or herb garden is a great site to plant them and small perennials that grow in such places make good plant companions. In the rock garden and herb garden, you will want to plant crocuses under creeping phlox or mat-forming thymes. Your crocuses will come right through the ground-hugging plants. This also makes a nice display and keeps the crocus flowers from getting splashed with mud when it rains.

Steps for Planting Crocuses

To plant crocus plant corms, just follow the steps below:

  1. Dig the site you've chosen and loosen the soil.
  2. Add some coarse sand or fine gravel to the soil to help improve the drainage.
  3. Add 5-10-5 fertilizer and mix it well.
  4. Set the crocuses 5 inches (13 cm.) deep, but more if your soil is sandy.

Crocuses have an upside that sometimes has the tip of the shoots showing. The bottom of the corm is flattened. Don't worry too much about which side is up during crocus flower care and planting; crocuses have contractile roots, which just means they will adjust their position downward if they feel the need. Click here for further information on growing crocus.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.