Helping You Become a More Successful Gardener
Gerald L. Klingaman
Early Crocus, Tommy Crocus
Scoffing at winter's last fits of snow and cold, the tiny tommy crocus brings cheer and promise with its late winter and early spring flowers, which often occur in self-sown drifts. A perennial that grows from a small corm (bulb-like tuber), it is native to to southeastern Europe.
In late winter, one or two lavender flowers arise from a developing tuft of grass-like foliage. The leaves have prominent silvery-white midstripes. Borne singly on ankle-high, stalk-like floral tubes, the white-throated blooms have six relatively narrow "petals" (more properly termed segments). The outer segments often have silvery exteriors. The starry flowers open wide in bright sun to display yellow anthers and orange styles. The floral tubes are white. Once flowering ends, the foliage remains for several more weeks to gather nourishment for the bulbs.
Grow tommy crocus in full to partial sun in almost any reasonable soil. It needs many weeks of winter chill to flower and grow well. An enthusiastic self-sower, it is ideal for creating clouds of early bloom in lawns and borders. Form albus has white, lavender-flecked flowers. Cultivar 'Whitewell Purple' has reddish-purple blooms, and 'Pictus' is pale lavender with purple tips. Hybrids with the closely related Crocus vernus sometimes occur; these include 'Ruby Giant.'
8 - 1
3 - 8
1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Bulb or Corm or Tuber
Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
3"-4" / 7.6cm - 10.2cm
2"-4" / 5.1cm - 10.2cm
Early Spring, Late Winter
Eastern Europe, Southern Europe
Dark Green, Silver
Container, Foundation, Lawns and Turf, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower
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