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CROCUS vernus

Image of Crocus vernus

Mark Kane

Family

Iridaceae

Botanical Name

CROCUS vernus

Plant Common Name

Vernal Crocus

General Description

Providing a burst of welcome color at winter's end, this European mountain-dweller flaunts its cheerful flowers even as the last remnants of snow linger. It has given rise to numerous large-flowered cultivars in a range of purples and whites. Like all other crocuses, it is a diminutive herbaceous perennial that grows from a small bulb-like storage organ known as a corm. In late winter or early spring, one or two purple, lavender, or white flowers arise on ankle-high, stalk-like floral tubes. Goblet-shaped when closed, the blossoms sometimes have contrasting stripes on the outsides of their three outer segments. In bright sun the blooms open wide to reveal the three inner segments and the orange-yellow anthers and stigmas. The floral tube is typically the same color as the segments. Short, tufted, grassy 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, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    3"-6" / 7.6cm - 15.2cm

  • Width

    2"-4" / 5.1cm - 10.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Europe, Russia/Siberia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Purple, Lavender, Violet

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark 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