Crocus brings early spring color to the landscape by popping out of the ground (sometimes through snow!) with petite, ground-hugging flowers. Large sections of crocus planted beneath deciduous trees create a spectacular sight. This plant also possesses the power to jazz up rock gardens, brighten the ground in front of shrubs, and line sidewalks with splashes of color.
Garden Plans For Crocus
Crocus Care Must-Knows
Crocus bulbs, like most spring bulbs, should be planted in fall as soon as the soil cools. Choose a location with well-drained soil where they'll get full sun or light shade. Plant bulbs 2 to 4 inches deep and 2 to 4 inches apart with their pointed tips facing the soil surface. Water them well after planting. Plan to ramp up spring color slowly by adding bulbs every year to the initial mass planting. Understand some bulbs will be lost to site conditions and animals over time; replace them with new ones each fall.
After crocus blooms, allow the foliage to remain in the garden or lawn until it turns completely yellow. This allows the foliage to produce nutrients that sustain the bulb for the next growing season. Crocus bulbs grow best in dry soil, so don't water plants after they bloom.
Some crocus varieties thrive in the midst of a lawn, creating a carpet of color in early spring. Don't shy away from planting the bulbs (also known as corms) under deciduous trees, beneath shrubs, or around the bases of perennial plants. The crocus will complete its life cycle before larger plants leaf out and limit its sunlight. Plus, trees offer growing conditions favorable to this plant beneath their canopies: drier soil and less grass than found in open areas of lawn. Crocus thrives in dry soil and areas with limited competition from grass. Delay mowing a lawn embedded with crocus until the plant's foliage turns fully yellow. In some areas this means delaying the first lawn mowing until mid- to late June.
More Varieties of Crocus
'Bowles White' crocus
This variety of Crocus sieberi bears snowy, chalice-shape flowers with deep yellow throats appear in early spring. It grows 2-3 inches tall. Zones 3-8
Crocus speciosus lives up to its name, producing blue flowers in October. It grows 4-6 inches tall. Zones 3-8
Lilac blooms that sport yellow throats and appear abundantly in late winter and early spring make this variety of Crocus sieberi unique. The plant grows 2 to 3 inches tall. Zones 3-8
'Flower Record' crocus
Crocus vernus 'Flower Record' produces large goblet-shape pale violet blooms that open above grasslike foliage. It grows 4 to 5 inches tall. Zones 3-8
'Golden Yellow' crocus
This variety of Crocus x luteus produces grasslike leaves and cuplike yellow to yellow-orange flowers with olive-green striping on the outside. Zones 3-8
Crocus chrysanthus 'Goldilocks' is an early-blooming variety that has bright golden-yellow flowers. It grows 2-3 inches tall. Zones 3-8
'Jeanne d'Arc' crocus
Also known as spring crocus, Crocus vernus 'Jeanne d'Arc' has cuplike white flowers with small purple bases and bright orange pistils. Zones 3-8
'Lilac Beauty' crocus
Crocus tommasinianus 'Lilac Beauty' offers lilac-blue flowers that gradually open to reveal showy, divided gold stamens. Flowers abundantly in early spring on plants that grow 2 inches tall. Zones 3-8
This large-flower variety of Crocus vernus 'Pickwick' has silvery lilac-striped blooms that appear abundantly in early spring. It grows 4 inches tall. Zones 3-9
Crocus sieberi 'Tricolor' has fragrant lilac-blue flowers illuminated at the base by broad yellow and white bands. Zones 4-8
'Yellow Mammoth' crocus
Crocus vernus 'Yellow Mammoth' offers gigantic golden-yellow blooms that pop up in early spring and spread easily to spread a layer of sunshine under bare trees and shrubs. It grows 5 inches tall. Zones 3-8