The secrets of growing beautiful crocuses at home
Pottery crocuses are sold annually at flower fairs dedicated to March 8th as a symbol of the coming spring. Delicate white, lilac, pink corollas delight the eye with appearance.
How to prolong the life of crocus in a pot, achieve repeated flowering? How to grow a flower from a bulb?
Crocus or saffron?
Beginning plant growers and people far from botany can consider these two plants as different species. In fact the correct name of the plant is saffron, the name "crocus" is borrowed from Latin.
Saffron is also called a spice obtained from a plant, so the flower itself is called crocus to avoid confusion. Both types are allowed.
Crocuses belong to the Iris family. This is a perennial tuberous herb. The flower stem is poorly developed, the leaves grow from the basal zone.
Flowers are large, single, rarely 2-3 peduncles grow from one bulb. The flowering period can be autumn or spring in different species of plants.
Varieties of spring blooming crocuses
Exist about 300 different types and subspecies of saffronintended for cultivation at home or for growing in open field.
A typical representative of the Saffron family. It is distinguished by purple petals, bell-shaped corolla shape, orange stamens. Leaf plates are painted in a dark green tint. Flowering begins in early spring, lasts 14 days.
In nature, the plant is found in the Crimea, the Caucasus, Iran, and some parts of Italy. The flower has an unusual color.
The main color of the petals is creamy white, but they have oblong burgundy-purple spots, longitudinal lines. Stamens are yellow, elongated.
A short, squat plant, the height does not exceed 20 cm. The homeland of golden crocus is the Balkan Peninsula, some Asian countries. The flowers are a bright yellow hue, the leaf plates are deep green.
There are two most famous subspecies of Golden Crocus - Blue Bonnet, Nanette. Flowering begins in April, lasts 10 days.
The species is found on hillsides, in deciduous forests. Crocus was first discovered in Hungary, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Serbia.
Corollas Tomazini delicate purple hue, a feature of the variety - the ability to form 3 flowers from one bulb. The most common subspecies are Lylek Beauty, Whitewell Purple.
This variety is artificially bred for cultivation at home. Based on the varieties Spring, Narrow-leaved. Dutch hybrids are large in flower size; flowering time is 20 days.
Autumn blooming crocuses
There are varieties of saffron blooming in autumn.
The flower has 6 pointed petals of purple-blue hue. A distinctive feature of the variety is clear dark veins, a bright yellow core.
This variety of saffron blooms very abundantly - 10 flowers can form on one plant. Flowering begins in October, lasts from 15 to 20 days.
Corollas are large, up to 10 cm long, 8 cm wide. The color is pale lilac with longitudinal purple stripes on the petals.
The natural habitat of the plant is the Carpathian Mountains, Romania. Saffron leaves are green with a bluish tint, 15 cm long.
The flowers are pale lilac in color with bright yellow stamens; they consist of wide outer petals, small internal petals, which differ in a lighter shade.
Crocus pot selection
Planting and caring for saffron at home is impossible without the correct selection of capacity. Crocuses do not differ too ramified root system, therefore the pot should be shallow but wide. So the bulb feels as comfortable as possible.
Attention! The material of the pot does not have a special role. Ceramic, clay, plastic, glass flowerpots are equally suitable.
Crocus cultivation is possible only in loose neutral acid soil. The nutritional value of the soil does not matter: the bulb is able to accumulate nutrients inside.
For saffron cultivation some gardeners even use plain river sand.
Which bulbs to choose?
When buying, it is important to pay attention to the quality of saffron corms. They should be evenly covered with husk, damage, rot, mold are not allowed.
The bulb must be firm, solid., soft planting material will rot in the ground, not giving the desired sprouts.
Important! Rotten, damaged, dry bulbs are not viable; they should not be purchased.
How to care for crocuses in a pot?
It is not always possible at home to achieve flowering plants. In order for the crocus to bloom, it is recommended to follow simple rules.
In the natural habitat of plants, a temperate climate prevails, so crocus requires moderate soil moisture. Watering the flower is permissible only after the topsoil has dried.
Advice! When buds appear, it is important to water exclusively through the pan so that water does not get on the corollas.
Top dressing, applicable to crocuses, must contain phosphorus, potassium. Elements favorably affect the formation of buds, the growth of bulbs. Saffron must be fertilized several times:
- After the appearance of the first sprouts. The phosphorus content should be twice as high as potassium.
- During the formation of the buds. Useful elements should be in equal proportions.
- After flowering. It is important that the potassium concentration exceeds the amount of phosphorus.
After withering, falling leaves, the bulb does not need to be fertilized.
Care for long flowering
To maximize the flowering period of saffron, it is necessary to maintain optimal temperature conditions. The air temperature in the room where the plants are kept, should not exceed +20 ° C.
Lighting should also be moderate.: Bright sunshine can leave burns on delicate buds, so it is recommended to put flower pots on shaded window sills. At night, the air temperature should drop to +15 ° C.
Possible growing problems
Difficulties may arise even at the stage of planting the bulbs. It is important to specify the time of flowering of crocuses: spring-flowering, autumn saffron plants are planted at different times of the year.
Many beginner gardeners face a problem: crocuses faded in the pot, what to do next? How to care after flowering?
It should be understood that after the buds, leaves, their decay wilt, a new plant life cycle begins, so you need to properly prepare the bulbs for the next season.
Crocuses after flowering need to be cleaned of dried leaves, peduncle, then dig the bulb from the ground. Planting material needs to be removed from the soil, dried.
Then the corms are stored in a dark, dry, well-ventilated room at a temperature of + 15 ... 20 ° С.
Saffron is quite resistant to most pests, but can be affected by infectious diseases.
Main a sign of the disease is light spots on the buds, extensive deformation of the petals, as a result of which the flower cannot open. It is impossible to help such a plant, the bulb, soil should be discarded, and the pot should be treated with a weak solution of potassium permanganate.
When affected by fungal diseases, the bulbs become loose, soft, spots appear under the husk. It is impossible to cure the plant.
To prevent the development of the fungus, it is recommended that the corms be treated with antifungal agents before planting.
Distillation of crocuses is a special procedure. For a short period of time, you can grow a large flower with a long flowering period.
Selection of planting material
A quality onion must meet the following requirements:
- Dense structure, uniform dark brown color of the husk.
- The absence of any mechanical damage on the surface of the nodule.
- Healthy scales without rot, mold, unpleasant odor.
- The diameter of a good bulb is at least 7 cm. It is believed that a large tuber is the key to large flowers.
Important! The bulb should be in a state of complete rest. The presence of sprouts, roots will not allow the flower to germinate by the desired date.
Planting crocuses in the ground - 70–80 days before the desired flowering. Until that time it is important to cool the bulbs. Often an ordinary refrigerator is used for this.
Saffron tubers are placed in a paper bag, put in the cellar, a refrigerator with a temperature in the range of + 3 ... 8 ° C for a period of 25 to 30 days.
It is better to plant crocuses in flat wide containers, a flower takes root in them faster. How to plant crocuses at home in a pot? It is important to adhere to the following algorithm of actions:
- Place drainage at the bottom of the bowl. It can be expanded clay, broken brick, polystyrene. Without drainage, the water will stagnate, causing the bulb to rot.
- Pour a small amount of soil.
- Center the planting material.
- Cover the ground so that a very thin layer of soil remains above the tail.
Advice! If the goal is to grow only flowers, without subsequent bulb propagation, then sand can be used instead of soil.
The pot with crocuses should be in a cool dark place until germination.
Germinated saffron should be kept at a temperature not exceeding +20 ° Сotherwise bloom will come faster than expected and will be short-lived. Watered 1 time in 20 days.
If flowering is planned for March, then planting material is cooled in November, and bulbs are planted in soil in December.
There are two main ways to increase the crocus population.
Okaytubers are dug out of the soil annually for wintering. However, if you leave them in the ground, then in 2-3 years the onion begins to grow with “children”.
After digging, they need to be carefully separated from the mother tuber, dried, placed in a cool dark place for storage.
Important! When young bulbs are planted in the ground, flowering should not be expected this year, it occurs only in the second year of being in the ground.
This method of propagation of crocuses is not popular, since it is possible to get plants from seeds only at the 4th – 5th year of cultivation. Seeds are collected from seed bolls formed after flowering.
Seeds should ripen well, the testis should dry. After collecting the planting material, it should be dried and stored in a dry place until planting.
Before sowing the soil, it is recommended to soak the seeds for several hours in warm water with a small amount of potassium permanganate, this will not only accelerate germination, but also disinfect the seeds.