Category Archives: Saffron Crocus – Crocus Sativus

Saffron Crocus

Saffron Crocus or Crocus Sativus 

Saffron Crocus The excitement is heating up as the bulbs are finishing their growth for the year and are being harvested in many countries around the world.  The Middle East is a prime location for big fields of bulbs, but India, France and the Netherlands are other countries growing the Saffron Crocus.  Each corm is planted 3″ down and about 2″ apart and they increase over time into clumps.

Growing  Saffron Crocus 

Saffron Crocus The corms are planted upon receipt and can be planted any time during the year, but are ideally planted in the fall after the harvest, drying and shipping of the bulbs from their country of origin.  They go dormant, much like naked ladies or other adapted bulbs to dry climates, and send up foliage and flower buds at the same time.  As the foliage is grass like and thin, most of the show comes from the flower.

Harvesting Saffron Spice and Aftercare

Each flower has three threads of saffron spice and they must be harvested as soon as the flower opens.  The threads are plucked off and placed on a surface to dry.  They are then ready to be put into an airtight container or used immediately for cooking.

Saffron Crocus

After the blooming period, the corms will divide and produce many smaller corms.  Eventually these will grow larger and produce clumps with many flowers.  In climates that get frost, the corms may be left in the ground as long as there is not a heavy freeze but will benefit from mulching.  Or they can be dug up and brought into a cool basement or garage as long as the temperatures are not freezing as well.  If left in the ground, they go through a dry and dormant period during the summer and begin to grow again in the fall and bloom usually in the late fall.  It takes 70,000 flowers to produce one pound of saffron, and the price of $5000 per pound indicates the labor that goes into the production of the spice, saffron, and makes it the most expensive spice in the world.

Fresh Saffron Crocus, Crocus Sativus Bulbs are Here!

Fresh Saffron Crocus bulbs have arrived and are ready to plant. There are firm and recently harvested in this spring.

Crocus Sativus - Saffron Crocus

Fall Blooming Crocus Sativus

In Turkey, there are piles of fresh saffron threads available in the Spice Market and the cost is cheaper than here in our grocery stores, but still expensive. The best Saffron comes from Iran where these beauties bloom in the fall. There is also a lighter orange variety of Saffron than is cheaper but I don’t know where it comes from.

Now it would take a great number of these small, and beautiful bulbs to give the kinds of quantities that are seen in the foreign spice markets like the one below:

Spice

But having you own source for a small amount of your own saffron is a treat!

The saffron that flavors many dishes is from the strands or stamens of this crocus flower. It is a very expensive spice because of the hand labor in picking enough of these stamens to sell commercially, but at home, you can pick fresh stamens for your cooking. Cutting or picking the stamens while the bulb is in bloom, will not hurt the bulb. It looks best planted in masses and in rock gardens.

They grow in zone 5-8 and 8 is just where I am in Glen Ellen in northern California. Be sure to loosen and prepare the soil with compost, peat moss, and be sure they have good drainage. Plant them three to four inches down and about two inches apart. They are an excellent naturalizer and bloom just two to four inches high – like an interesting ground cover!

The color is beautiful with dark purple veining on the lilac petals. The yellow center with the red strands is very eye catching. The crocus bulbs are planted with the pointy ends facing up and then watered well.

These will bloom in the autumn and the strands for saffron will be ready to add to savory dishes.

They are wonderful planted in masses and in rock gardens as they are only two to four inches tall. A wonderful type of grown cover and they naturalize and attract butterflies.

Saffron Crocus or Crocus Sativus

Growing and Harvesting Saffron from Crocus Sativus

Most crocus require cold to bloom prolifically and beautifully each year. But there is another crocus which has been around for a long time and which has much different needs and conditions to produce both beauty and a useful product – that expensive spice, saffron.

Saffron Crocus

The saffron that flavors many dishes is from the strands or stamens of this crocus flower.  It is a very expensive spice because of the hand labor in picking enough of these stamens to sell commercially, but at home, you can pick fresh stamens for your cooking.  Cutting or picking the stamens while the bulb is in bloom, will not hurt the bulb.  It looks best planted in masses and in rock gardens.

They grow in zone 5-8 and 8 is just where I am in Glen Ellen in northern California.  Be sure to loosen and prepare the soil with compost, peat moss, and be sure they have good drainage.  Plant them three to four inches down and about two inches apart.  They are an excellent naturalizer and bloom just two to four inches high – like an interesting ground cover!

The color is beautiful with dark purple veining on the lilac petals.  The yellow center with the red strands is very eye catching.  The crocus bulbs are planted with the pointy ends facing up and then watered well.

These will bloom in the autumn and the strands for saffron will be ready to add to savory dishes.

They are wonderful planted in masses and in rock gardens as they are only two to four inches tall.  A wonderful type of grown cover and they naturalize and attract butterflies.