Crocus produces blossoms in a wide array of colors, including striped varieties. See more pictures of bulb gardens.

Crocuses are the most popular of the late-winter/early spring bulbs. Widely available and easy to grow, they are the first blossoms of spring and offer a wide range of colors.

Description of a crocus: The cup-shaped flowers of the crocus are upward-facing and come in a vast array of shades, from white to golden yellow to deep purple to bicolor, and may be attractively striped. The flowers appear from late winter to early spring, depending on the variety and the local climate, over grasslike leaves with a white central stripe. Fall-blooming crocuses produce their flowers without any foliage; the leaves appear in spring. Crocus flowers open fully only on sunny days. Ease of care: Easy.

Growing crocuses: Plant corms 2 to 4 inches deep, 3 to 5 inches apart, in a sunny, well-drained area. Plant winter- and spring-blooming crocuses in fall and fall-blooming crocuses in late summer.

Propagating crocuses: Start new crocus plants by division.

Uses for crocuses: Crocus are ideal for beds and borders and can also be naturalized in lawns and woodlands. They are excellent for forcing indoors.

Crocus related varieties: The large-flowered Dutch hybrids (generally hybrids of Crocus vernus) bear 2- to 3-inch flowers in a full range of colors in early spring. The so-called winter-flowering crocuses, such as C. chrysanthus, offer a wide color range. These crocuses are simply very early flowering versions of spring crocuses. While they may bloom as early as January in warm climates, they bloom only a few days earlier than "spring-flowering" crocuses in colder regions. These winter-flowering crocuses bear smaller but more numerous flowers than Dutch hybrids and spread more rapidly when naturalized. C. sativus, a fall-flowering crocus, is the commercial source of saffron.

Scientific name of crocus: Crocus species

Want more information? Try these:

  • Bulbs: Want to learn the basics of flower and plant bulbs? Try this article.
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  • Gardening: Want gardening basics -- start here with our guide to gardening.