How to grow Crocus Sativus
Crocus Sativus, also known as Saffron Crocus, has been cultivated and celebrated for over 2,000 years for its pretty purple flowers and highly prized stamens (saffron). The most expensive spice in the world and worth more than gold, it can take over 40,000 saffron crocus blooms to produce just 1lb of saffron spice. However, it is possible to grow crocus sativus and harvest the saffron for your own use. A year's worth of saffron can be obtained from planting just a couple dozen bulbs.
Planting Saffron Crocus bulbs:
Follow our simple step-by-step guide to planting saffron crocus bulbs:
- Crocus bulbs are planted In Autumn, before the ground freezes. Pick a sunny spot with good drainage Try for a soil with some organic matter that gets dry during the summer months
- Saffron Crocuses require a relatively deep hole, ideally around 10cm deep. drop the bulb in, and cover with soil. Make sure you place the bulb the right way up, crocus bulbs look like a little onion with a slightly pointy head and sometimes with wiry roots growing out of the underside. Plant with the pointy head / spike pointing up.
- Leave approximately 8cm between each bulb. If you are planting in containers, you can cluster them a little closer together.
- After planting, water well so that the soil above the bulbs settles.
- Crocus bulbs will flower in Spring. After the flowers die down, allow the plant to enjoy a rest period - there is no need to water much during this period. Leaves will also die back and at this point you can choose to tidy up the plant and remove the old leaves or just let nature take its course.
- Saffron crocus bulbs will flower very quickly, about 6-8 weeks after planting
- The best time to harvest the saffron spice is during the morning hours when the flower is fresh and the bloom is fully open. Use your fingers to pluck the stigmas from the blooms then preserve them for later cooking use by placing them in a warm location so that they can dry out. After the stigmas are dry, store them in a closed container to maintain their freshness.