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Crocus vernus March 2018 Know What You Grow

Every spring I head to the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to see the alley of crocus located by the Grace B. Dayton Wildflower Garden.  Crocus flowers with their array of colors is just what the soul needs after a long monochrome winter.  They are also an early source of pollinator food so I am not the only one benefiting from their spring display.

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BOTANICAL NAME  Crocus vernus

COMMON NAME  Iridaceae

DESCRIPTION  Corm native to the high alpine areas of Europe.  Many cultivars have been introduced over the years.  Flower blooms usually begin in late March or early April in Minnesota.  Flowers close at night or cloudy days, only opening with the sun.  Basal, grass-like leaves emerge with multiple flowers emerging from the center.  Plant yellows and goes dormant in a few weeks after bloom

FAMILY  Iridaceae

HEIGHT  6 inches

WIDTH   6 inches

HABIT Upright

ZONES  3 to 8

EXPOSURE Full Sun to partial shade

FLOWER COLOR  Purple or white


COMPANION PLANTS Geranium, Aruncus, Brunnera

GROWING AND MAINTENANCE TIPS  Medium moist soils with good drainage.  Gritty soils are best, avoid clay.  Plant 2-3” deep and 3-4” apart in fall.  Divide corms every 4-5 years.  Squirrels can be a problem digging up corms

NOTES Early spring color.  Mass in lawns, under trees, rock gardens, along paths