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Crocus shines as ‘Flower Bulb of the Year’

The Crocus is in the limelight as the ‘Flower Bulb of the Year’ for 2015. These early-flowering bulbs have come to symbolize the joy of spring. As if eager to emerge from under the ground, their flowers open wide on those first days of sunshine. What could be more welcome after a cold dark winter?

A close look at crocuses

All crocuses might appear rather alike. Look closely, however, and you can discover their beautiful varieties in colors ranging from intensely deep hues to cheerful pastels. The most popular colors are blue and purple, but you’ll also find crocuses in white, yellow, and ones with white stripes. For a real splash of color, the best choice would be the large-flowering crocuses. But the delicate, small-flowering crocuses also make you think of little presents peeping up through the soil. It’s simply a joy to see them in bloom. 

Did you know that...

Bees are very grateful for crocuses? After a long period of cold when hardly anything blooms, the Crocus is one of the first plants to flower. The bees are only too eager to sip their delicious nectar.

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The Crocus’s story

There’s an interesting story behind the bright sunny Crocus. Of the more than hundred species, one plays a key role in history: the autumn-flowering Saffron Crocus (Crocus sativus). The ancient Greeks picked the stigmas from this species, dried them, and used them as a spice in their foods. Because of this use, the Greeks named this flower bulb krokos, which means ‘saffron’. Believe it or not, these dried stigmas are worth their weight in gold. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Well, before you decide to go into the saffron-producing business, you should know that the weather where you live is too wet to produce stigmas of good quality. With this unique story in mind, simply make do by enjoying the beauty of this exceptional crocus. 

Did you know that...

Crocus flowers respond to weather conditions? Whenever the buds sense sunlight, they open immediately. Clouds will soon have them closing up.

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A cheerful sight

More than a hundred different crocuses are suitable for garden planting. The Yellow Crocus (Crocus flavus) was discovered growing in the Balkans and north-western Turkey in 1579. Other crocuses originated from Asia Minor and countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Planting them in your garden in the autumn will reward you with a cheerful sight in early spring. But how should you plant them? Just follow these five steps:

  1. Use a trowel to loosen the soil at the place where the crocuses will be planted. This makes the soil easier to dig.
  2. When flower bulbs are not being planted in an existing border, it might be advisable to amend the soil with some organic material such as compost. 
  3. Dig a hole with a trowel or bulb planter and plant the crocuses in it with their points facing up and their roots facing down. 
  4. Make sure that the bulbs are planted at a depth three times the height of the bulb itself. A crocus 1 inch tall should thus be planted at a depth of 3 inches. 
  5. Fill the hole with the previously removed soil and tamp the surface gently.

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Did you know that...

Crocuses seek refuge underground after they have flowered? This way, they can survive the heat, drought or cold of the coming months so they can bring spring to the garden again next year.

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