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Blooming Plant
of the month

            
Crocus

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BOTANICAL NAME

Crocus spp. (KRO-kus)

DESCRIPTION
Crocuses are corms that produce single, goblet-shaped blossoms that taper into tubular shapes at the base. The flowers can be up to 3 inches long.

COLORS
Crocuses are most often seen in hues of yellow, mauve, blue, lavender, purple or white. They are often striped.

CONSUMER LIFE
Individual flowers will last from two to five days, but plants can last from seven to 12 days. The lasting quality will vary greatly by cultivar as well as the temperature and light levels in which the plants are displayed. Crocuses usually are discarded when blossoming is finished because they can’t be forced indoors a second time; however, the corms can be planted outdoors if desired.

AVAILABILITY
Crocuses usually are available in the late winter through spring, but there also are fall-blooming varieties.

IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Bright, diffused light is best for indoors. Full sun or filtered sunlight is best if Crocuses are displayed outside.
WATER Keep the soil evenly moist. Severe drying will cause leaf yellowing and drop and also will delay flower development.
TEMPERATURE Cool areas (55 F to 65 F) are best for displaying Crocuses. They can be stored in floral coolers at 33 F to 35 F for two to three days.
HUMIDITY Keep humidity at moderate levels for Crocuses.
FERTILIZER Apply a bloom fertilizer in moderation at every watering. An African violet food is a good choice.
SOIL Crocuses do best in a light, well-drained potting soil.

CHALLENGES
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Some varieties of Crocuses show signs of ethylene sensitivity. Make sure your plants have been treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the grower level or during transportation.

QUALITY CHECKLIST
BLOOMS Market Crocuses when they are just sprouting.
PESTS Crocus blooms attract thrips and aphids. Control them with a solution of insecticidal soap.

FUN FACTS
MEANING “Crocus” is Greek for saffron. The stigmas of C. sativus (saffron Crocus) are used to flavor food and as a dye.
FAMILY Crocuses are members of the Iridaceae (Iris family). Common relatives include Iris, Ixia (African corn lily), Freesia and Gladiolus.
ORIGINS Crocuses are native to areas from the Mediterranean region to Southwest Asia.

OF NOTE
CAUTION The corms can be toxic to some people and other animals if eaten, but these flowering plants are listed as an allergy-safe pollen-producing plant.
brilliant displays These plants are the perfect choice for spring displays. They stand well alone or grouped with other spring-flowering and foliage plants.

Some information provided by:
Some information provided by:
The Chain of Life NetworkÆ, www.chainoflifenetwork.org
University of Saskatchewan Garden Line, www.gardenline.usask.ca/misc/crocus.html
Colorado State Cooperative Extension, www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1009.html
SAF’s Flower & Plant Care manual

You may reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at sbfloral@aol.com or by phone at (415) 239-3140.

Photos courtesy of the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center


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