How to grow Crocuses
The Crocuses are bulbous elle belonging to the genus Crocus L. 1753; it is a genus of plants belonging to the Iridaceae family, characterized by being herbaceous perennials with a cup-shaped flower.
These small bulbous plants are widespread in nature in Europe, North Africa and Asia, especially in hilly or mountainous areas.
In this card we will see how to grow Crocuses, even with their slight agronomic differences.
In nature there are about eighty species of crocus, of which about thirty of these are cultivated.
Most of these flowers between the end of winter and the beginning of spring, but there is no lack of autumn-flowering species. To natural species one must add hybrids created by man and generally selected for their very lively color or size. some flowers.
The Crocuses have fairly small bulbs that do not exceed 5-7 cm in diameter, with an oval shape, and covered with some layers of papyrus membranes, among which the outermost are thickly divided into filaments.
These plants normally emit the flower before the leaves, which are very thin, similar to blades of grass, slightly thick, shiny, covered with a protective cuticle; the flower blossoms directly from the bulb; a long, very thin tubular part is divided at the top into six colored tepals.
The crocus flowers vary from yellow, white, purple, and also striated and variegated. Generally from each single bulb one or two flowers are formed and about 8-10 thin leaves.
For the cultivation of Colchi, since they are bulbous, common criteria must be applied to these plants. In fact, to obtain new bulbs and flowers that are always large and colorful, it is advisable to place the bulbs in fairly fertile soils, to which manure and leaf mold should be mixed, to improve fertility and permeability, since stagnant water is quite deleterious for the bulbs, causing the development of mold and fungus which can be fatal.
The period of planting of the crocus bulbs is the autumn or late summer (in the case in which we plant autumnal flowering plants), when the summer heat gives way to fresh and humid autumn.
These plants should be placed in areas with full sun, having in any case the foresight that, especially in the southern coastal areas, choose a location with shaded hours of the day.
These plants are not afraid of frost, nor of summer heat; in fact most of the crocuses bloom even during the last snowfalls of February, while in summer they are generally in complete vegetative rest.
Regarding the depth to which the bulbs are placed, this depends very much on the species and climate of the place where we live: in general the crocus sativus needs at least 10-15 cm of depth, while the crocus vernus grows well even if planted only 5-7 cm below the ground.
The criterion is to plant the bulbs at about three times their diameter, leaving them spaced about twice their diameter.
The criterion remains the same both in pot and in the garden.
As with all bulbous plants, these plants use the energies of the bulbs for particular moments of the year and take advantage of irrigation in others.
In fact, during dry periods, the crocuses remain in complete vegetative rest, while at the first rains they begin to produce roots, and often also flowers and leaves.
In the cultivation of Crocuses in the garden obviously watering will not be a problem at all, as the bulbs will be satisfied with the water provided by the rains, without requiring additional watering.
In pot cultivation we will have to behave following the same criteria of external rains. In any case, the water will be supplied when the climate is humid even outdoors, so in autumn and spring, always avoiding keeping the soil very wet; for this reason it is sufficient to provide, approximately, a glass of water per week for each individual bulb in a vase.
In general one behaves in such a way that as soon as the plants sprout, we can begin to water lightly, continuing until the leaves do not dry out, in summer or spring.
As far as fertilizations are concerned, it is advisable to intervene in the spring, in the period of February-March, spreading around organic fertilizer plants, such as earthworm humus or other very humified organic substance.
As far as propagation is concerned, remember that crocuses naturally tend to self-sow and produce small bulbs (bulbils).
Therefore when we plant these bulbs in pots or in the garden it is advisable, every 3-4 years, to unearth them in the period of late summer, to divide them, so as to subsequently guarantee to each bulb the right space to be able to generate stronger and more able plants to give optimal blooms. Moreover it is recalled that many hybrid species and varieties of Crocuses produce small capsules containing reddish seeds: this propagation system is also possible. The seeds can be sown, in the autumn, in a warm seedbed, in order to allow future plants to develop in a protected place, before planting them outdoors.
Obviously the gamica multiplication (by seed) gives rise to new plants with flowers of various colors and therefore different from the mother plant.
In this case, however, the young plants rarely bloom before reaching 2-3 years of age, which is why we often prefer to propagate the bulbs by dividing them, or by taking the bulbils.
The method of conservation of the bulbs and the subsequent propagation is, among other things, also the most economical as the bulbs sold in nurseries or even purchased online always have a higher cost. For this reason it is possible to unearth the bulbs in late spring, when the foliage begins to deteriorate, and keep them in a cool, dry and dark place, until the cool autumn arrives.
As far as possible diseases and pests are concerned, it must be said immediately that the Crocuses, due to their predisposition to live in damp soils, can undergo fungal diseases. For this, it may be appropriate, already in the implantation phase, to treat the bulbs with fungicidal agents.
The petals and leaves can also be attacked by insects and parasites, in this case you can safely use products made at home based on Marseille soap or garlic and sprayed even during flowering.
Among the most cultivated Crocus species we mention: Crocus laevigatus, Crocus sativus, Crocus speciosus, Crocus chrysanthus, Crocus flavus, Crocus sieberi, Crocus versicolor, Crocus vernus as well as numerous hybrids of which, once purchased the bulbs, with the system of separation and growth of bulbils species or varieties can be perpetuated.