Saffron plant growing corm of the genus Crocus, also known as Autumn crocus or Crocus sativus, Saffron plant perennial deciduous in the summer used for the edible stigmas, flowers are beautiful and used as ornamental plants, grow in mediterranean, temperate, subtropical climate or possible as houseplant, growing in hardiness zone 6-10.
Leaves color green, shape like coniferous and the leaves grow from inside of the corm new in the inner, if there are two set of leaves there is new corm, the leaves grow mostly after the flowers but can also bloom after the first leaves growth
Saffron plant flower
Flower color purple top of the flowers relatively bright petals and the central part even sometimes black and the lower part is white .there are six petals, the stigmas red-orange 3 stigmas used in the production of spice, the flowers grows directly from the corm, from a single bulb could be more from one flower.
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Requirements for growing Saffron plant care:
Dry summer, well drain soil, weed free (the plant not compete well with other plants)
What is the best way to start growing?
Plant (when start from plants high chance that it’s already bloom for this year / Corm (bulbs) the most efficient way to start to grow, be aware to plant it in the right moment / Seeds – takes few year in order to get flowers
Is it necessary to use vegetative reproduction?
Yes, better start from corms, not just because of the time that needed to wait for flowers (few years) also because in rare case the plant will never bloom
Corms in dormant need to keep in dry location dark location, location of wet summer need to pull out the bulbs from the ground and keep them in dry location better in carton box with holes and use the dead leaves in the carton or cotton that will absorb the humidity
Split in the summer after all leaves and roots dead and the corms are in dormant, take the smallest bulbs and separate them from the mother bulb, leave only 1-3 corm in order to get flowers
Difficulties or problems when growing:
Sensitive to big amount of water, and need dry season in the summer
Recommended planting season?
Summer to winter, in cold area (hardiness zone 6-9) better to start in the end of the summer to early autumn, in warmer area hardiness zone 9-10a autumn, in hardiness zone of 10+-11a best to start in the early autumn with the first rains, and possible to plant in the winter but high chance that it won’t bloom.
Pests and diseases:
Aphids, fungal, mice, thrips, nematodes
Summer or when the leaves get infected
How to prune:
In end of the growing season trim all the dead leaves, possible to use the dead leaves as bedding for the corms, if the leaves infected or carry pests don’t use.
Size of the plant?
10-30 cm, 4-12 inches, flowers height 2-7cm (1-3 inches)
Growth speed in optimal condition:
Slow growing, leaves growing medium speed, but the corms especially when it’s young corms grow very slowly, flowers grow fast in the beginning of the season, when the buds outside the corm need to be check it for harvesting
Average amount of water to small amount of water, overwater will kill the bulbs. In raining days reduce the amount of water, after the first rain in autumn need to verify that the soil is moist, in situation of one day of rain and after this dry it will prevent plant to bloom, need to check that the soil is moist. In summer (and in hot location even late spring) bulbs need to be in dry and dark place and in case of spring or summer rained need to pull the corms out of the soil and storage them indoor.
Light conditions in optimal condition for growing:
Full Sun / Half Shade, an idea plant it under winter deciduous tree and in the spring when there is hot days that in hot climate makes the plant go to dormant, when the leaves of the tree start to grow in spring it gives shade that delay the dormant
Is it possible to grow as houseplant?
Yes, need sun in the bloom season, grow it on the window and after the bloom need just light.
Growing is also possible in a planter /flowerpot / containers:
Yes, advantage of growing in pots, that can control weeds that try to grow, and use in soil that will well ventilate, soli ingredients: peat moss, vermiculite or perlite, organic matter is important add humus to soil it gives better result, each year better to take out the corms and put it back in the season and also to put new soil every year, don’t use bottom of pot, it destroy the plant, watering small amount few times a day with irrigation.
Autumn to early winter in warm climates, usually flowers bloom directly after planting
General information about the flower
Light to dark purple, stigmas red-orange 3 stigmas
Thinning the bloom:
Wind and rain destroy the petals and the stigmas
Pollination is done by:
Harvesting flowers stigma:
Better to harvest stigmas in the moment that it bloom better not to wait, after harvesting use the stigmas directly or dry in the air
Uses of Saffron flower stigmas:
Spices, herb, medical
Vegetative reproduction method:
Preferred season for vegetative reproduction:
Spring to summer, to split the corms but replanting better in the autumn
Time to grow roots in vegetative reproduction:
Start of the autumn corms will start to grow roots in case of delay possible to plant in the winter and if it’s in hardiness zone 6-8 better indoor
Treatment for vegetative reproduction:
The same as fully grown plant, little corms sensitive to overwater and won’t compete well with other plants