Are the Crocuses Up Yet?

crocus-dbg-lah-016This is the hardest time of the year for me. After growing up in California, I’m used to spring starting about now. I want to get growing now—not wait for two or three extra months! So today, in defiance of Colorado’s climate, I’m going to give you some crocus growing tips. Take that, winter!

While the snow has mostly melted, even the recent warm temperatures haven’t been enough to thaw my soil. The perennial bed looks exactly how it did a month ago—brown and lifeless. However, by blogging friend Carey (at Carey Moonbeam), across town and a smidgen lower in elevation than I am, reports she has blooming crocuses in her yard!

I admit it. I’m jealous.

Carey isn’t alone. Denver Botanic Gardens has blooming crocuses too, plus a lot of other spring bulbs. Of course, they’re almost a thousand feet lower than I am. I expect flowers to bloom there first. In fact, I’m planning a visit this month.

crocus-home-29mar2006-lah-102rI count the beginning of  spring from the time the crocuses in my yard begin to grow, even through the snow. Their cheerful yellow and lavender petals are most welcome after a winter of muted browns and grays. (They come in white too, but I need color this time of year!)

First to appear are the narrow, strap-like leaves. Then the cup-shaped flowers emerge, opening into bright 6-petaled stars.

Growing crocuses is easy, but you have to plan ahead. Purchase their bulb-like corms in September for best selection. Planting in early fall gives the roots time to grow before the ground freezes. Set them 3 – 4 inches deep in amended soil, where they can remain for years. After bloom, remove the faded flowers and feed the plants with an all-purpose fertilizer. Let the foliage dry naturally as the corms go dormant.

Crocuses are effective used as edging or massed for a natural effect, but for something different, scatter them into a lawn, where they will bloom before the grass starts to grow. That’s the prettiest your lawn will look all year!

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This entry was posted in Gardening, Plant Profiles, Surviving Winter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Are the Crocuses Up Yet?

  1. Carey says:

    No no no…not in my yard (I wish!). But definitely in a nearby neighbor’s yard that seems blessed with magical early blooming powers. I get to walk by and see the little beauties at least two or three times a week, and it really helps the gardener in me get through the late winter!

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