Spring Crocus – Identification

Q: I noticed this unexpected beauty last weekend. It’s roughly 5 inches tall, as thin as a pine needle, with a white stripe, and a purple bloom. The bloom opens during the day, even during freezing weather. Any idea of its name?

A: It’s a spring crocus, Crocus chrysanthus to be specific. It might be ‘Blue Pearl’ but there are several blue to purple crocuses, as well as white, yellow and orange.

Crocus does well if planted in fast-draining soil. I like a 1:1:1 mixture of native soil, pea gravel and soil conditioner. Root rot quickly appears if the bulb sits in water in winter.

Morning sun and afternoon shade seems the best light conditions.

Given the right spot, spring crocus will quickly multiply. Divide the clump every 3 – 4 years, being careful to save the little cormels that around the top of the corm (bulb). These cormels will develop into blooming plants in a couple of years.

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