Crocus sativus

Scientific name: Crocus sativus

Synonym: Crocus sativus var. cashmirianus


Common names: “Saffron crocus” “blood of Thoth” “St Valentine’s rose”

Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial corm


Zone: 5-8

Light: Full sun

Exposure: Sheltered

Soil: Sandy loam, doesn’t like clay

Moisture: Well drained


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Plant Size: 6″ H & W

Leaf and Stem shape: Linear leaves usually with a silvery central stripe

Flower: Large, goblet flowers in pale purple with red stigmaImage result for crocus sativus

Maintenance: Pick the stigmas and dry them, must have free draining soil, may benefit from low nitrogen fertilizer application, keep them  completely dry during summer dormancy

Landscape use: Flower border, gravel garden, container, Mediterranean garden, edible spice

Propagate: By seed and division

Pests & Disease: Susceptible to fungal diseases, mice and rodents may dig them up

Comments: Stigmas from the flower are collected for saffron, one of the most highly prized spices in the world, native to the Eastern Mediterranean

Cultivars: ~AGM winners:

Crocus cartwrightianus – “Wild saffron” – same growing conditions, tolerant of wetter conditions with a little clay but still must be well drained

C. c. ‘Albus’ – “white wild saffron” – white flowers

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