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CROCUS 'Ruby Giant'

Image of Crocus 'Ruby Giant'

James Burghardt

Family

Iridaceae

Botanical Name

CROCUS 'Ruby Giant'

Plant Common Name

Hybrid Crocus, Spring Crocus

General Description

Providing a welcome burst of color at winter's end, this crocus opens its cheerful flowers even as the last remnants of snow linger. Introduced in the mid-twentieth century, it is a cultivar or hybrid of the southern European native Crocus tommasinianus.

Growing from a small bulb-like storage organ known as a corm, this diminutive herbaceous perennial sends up one or two rich reddish-purple flowers in winter or early spring, just as the grassy, shiny, medium-green leaves emerge. The leaves have a white midstripe. Held singly atop ankle-high, stalk-like floral tubes, the up-facing, goblet-shaped blooms have six "petals" (or segments) in two whorls. In bright sun the flowers open wide to reveal white-suffused purple interiors, yellow anthers, and orange stigmas. The floral tube is white shading to purple at its top. The foliage goes dormant by late spring.

Grow 'Ruby Giant' in friable, well-drained soil in full to 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. Plants self-sow readily, making them ideal for naturalizing. Group this little beauty in rock gardens, mixed borders, alpine troughs, or turfgrass, or force it in pots to help quell winter doldrums.

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, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    3"-4" / 7.6cm - 10.2cm

  • Width

    2"-4" / 5.1cm - 10.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Southern Europe

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

    Purple

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    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

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Lawns and Turf, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes