Crocus (cont.)

Snow Crocus

There are about 30 different species of crocuses that are raised commercially. Other than the Giant Dutch Crocuses, probably the three most commonly available species are the Crocus chrysanthus, Crocus sieberi, and the Crocus tommasinianus.

You may never actually come across these Latin botanical names, just the name of the particular variety (for example "Cream Beauty" or "Violet Queen"), which is just fine. However, for those who are interested, I am going to deal with them species by species:

Crocus chrysanthus

This species of crocus, which grows wild in places like Greece, has smaller bulbs and, therefore, smaller flowers than the Giant Dutch Crocuses. However, it produces more flowers per bulb than the Dutch Crocus, and (like the other Snow Crocuses) typically blooms about 2 weeks earlier than the Dutch Crocus.

Although your nursery may only carry one or two varieties of Crocus chrysanthus (such as "Cream Beauty"), there are actually a dozen different varieties that are easily available through mail order or on-line catalogs. You might start at: Brent and Becky's Bulbs, McClure & Zimmerman, or Botanus. All are very easy to grow and will naturalize (i.e. come back year after year and slowly multiply) extremely easily.

Flowering time:very early spring
Plant height:3 - 4" (8 - 10 cm)
Minimum planting depth:3" (8 cm)
Hardiness zones: suitable for zones 3 - 9
Colours:white, yellow, mauve, purple, blue; may have bronze touches
Shape/form:6 oval or pointed petals forming a cup-shaped flower on a short, fleshy stalk
Alternate names:Species Crocus, Snow Crocus
Latin name: Crocus chrysanthus
Notes:good for rock gardens, under trees and shrubs, in lawns, in beds, borders, large drifts, and containers, or for indoor forcing
Example varieties: Advance (peachy yellow inside, violet outside), Blue Pearl (pale lavender blue), Cream Beauty (soft creamy yellow), Goldilocks (canary yellow), Lady Killer (deep violet purple outside, white inside, pointed petals), Prins Claus (white with dark purple blotches on outside) Snowbunting (white with yellow centre), Zwanenburg Bronze (bronze with yellow)

Cream Beauty Prins Claus Zwanenburg Bronze

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Last modified: October 11, 2008