Crocus sativus

("Saffron crocus")

Crocus sativus

Saffron has been mentioned since ancient times, e.g. in ancient Egypt and in the Bible, often being said to be an extremely valuable medicine and dye. The dye still plays a role in marriage ceremonies in India. It has long been a very costly material, even being used as a medium of exchange (It now sells for approx. $ 25.00-30.00 per ounce for whole threads). Originally, saffron was obtained by drying the stigmas (central part of the flower) of Crocus sativus over an open fire. It takes about 40,000 flowers to make one pound of sellable Saffron. Fortunately it doesn't take much of true Saffron to spice up your dishes.

What You Need To Know Before You Plant:

When Will This Flower Bloom?

Mid-Late Fall

When Should I Buy and Plant These Bulbs?

Very Early Fall

What Kind of Light Does This Bulb Prefer?

Full sun to partial shade

What Color Will the Flower Be?

Light purple, dark purple veins, lighter edges

How Far Apart Should I Plant These Bulbs?

3 in / 8 cm

How Deep Should I Dig?

4 in / 10 cm

How Tall Will It Grow?

4-5 in / 10-12 cm

Recommended Number of Bulbs Per Square Foot?


Is It Deer/Critter Resistant?


How Can I Best Use It in My Landscaping?

In front of shrubs, around trees and in rock gardens.

What Should I Do After Flowering?

Allow the foliage (which appears in the Spring) to die back naturally and they will replenish the bulbs which then remain dormant through the Summer only to bloom again in the Fall for many years to come.

Other Popular Varieties

Species only.

About the Family

Crocus (Fall Flowering) Family

Cultivation and harvesting of crocuses was first documented on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean. Crocus are native to woodland, scrub and meadows from sea level, to alpine tundra in central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, on the islands of the Aegean, and across central Asia into western China. The first crocuses seen in the Netherlands, where they are not native, came from Constantinople in the 1560's. A few ended up with Carolus Clusius in the botanical gardens in Leiden. By 1620 some new varieties had been developed that are very similar to ones still being traded today.

Read More About the Family