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CROCUS chrysanthus

Image of Crocus chrysanthus

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Iridaceae

Botanical Name

CROCUS chrysanthus

Plant Common Name

Snow Crocus, Yellow Snow Crocus

General Description

Freely producing its cheerful, sunny blossoms in the waning chill of late winter, this native of southeastern Europe and western and central Turkey is a quintessential harbinger of spring. It has also teamed with the white-flowered C. biflorus to produce numerous white-, yellow-, and blue-flowered hybrids known as "snow crocuses."

Like all other crocuses, this diminutive herbaceous perennial grows from a small bulb-like storage organ known as a corm. In late winter or early spring, one to four fragrant pale yellow to orange-yellow flowers arise on ankle-high, stalk-like floral tubes. Goblet-shaped when closed, the blossoms often have brownish-purple stripes and stippling on the outsides of their three outer segments. In bright sun the blooms open wide to reveal the three inner segments and the yellow to orange anthers and stigmas. Short, grassy, gray-green or medium-green leaves emerge with the flowers and go dormant by late spring.

Grow this beautiful little "bulb" in friable, well-drained soil in full or partial sun (when it is in leaf). Plant corms at a depth of two to three times their height in late summer or early fall. Ten or more weeks of near-freezing temperatures are needed to induce flowering. Group this little beauty in rock gardens, mixed borders, alpine troughs, or turfgrass. Plants often self-sow. This crocus is also good for forcing in pots.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    2"-4" / 5.1cm - 10.2cm

  • Width

    2"-4" / 5.1cm - 10.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Turkey

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Light Yellow, Gold, Bronze

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Alpine, Container, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes