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Spring flowering crocus

Bright blossoms are the season’s earliest arrival

CROCUS FLOWERING is the first sign that winter is ending and spring is near. Flowers usually last only one to two weeks, but by then our view is filled with other spring blooming beauties like daffodils, magnolias and redbuds. 

To enjoy this early springtime treat, plan ahead and plant the dormant corms in the fall. Because the flowers are small, planting them in groups or even naturalized in large areas helps them be more colorful and eye catching. Because they are favorites of squirrels, chipmunks and mice, planting more also ensures that even if some get eaten, there are still plenty to flower. 

Plant the small corms 3–4 inches deep in full sun or in areas that are full sun well into April. The foliage needs to grow in a sunny location for six weeks after flowering to store enough food for next year. Areas that are well drained are best, and crocuses are often fun additions to rock gardens. Because they are just a few inches tall, always plant in areas where they will not be hidden. Planting them in the lawn is not typically the best choice in our area because we usually have to begin mowing before the six-week period is up. 

The brightly colored flowers are cup-shaped and close at night or when it’s cloudy, but even when closed, the flowers are still showy. Their early bloom and durability make them excellent additions to many garden spaces. You can plant them and forget about them until you are pleasantly reminded each spring as they begin to bloom. They can also be planted in containers, chilled and forced into bloom indoors throughout the winter.

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