saffron crocus failing?

I've got 60 bulbs of saffron crocus in my back garden in pots with a gravel top layer. foliage is plentyful and they look in great condition. the problem I'm having is flowering.  I had about 10-15 flowers early december then I persume it became too cold, but should they not be flowering again now? Has anybody had a similar problem? Or can anybody offer some advice or info about what is going on?

Thank you kindly in advance.


Extra info. Bulbs purchesed from suttons.



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,799

    True saffron crocus flower in the late autumn. They will start to die down about now and will be dormant during the spring and summer and should be kept fairly dry, then in the late summer/early autumn start watering and they will form new buds and flower late autumn.image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    my crocus have not flowered but I have leaves that's all.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,799

    Flowering rose, are we talking Saffron crocus here?  If so the weather last year may not have helped - they need a dry summer image.  Or it may be that the corms may have been a little immature.  Try to let them dry off over the summer and hopefully they'll spring into life next autumn image 

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,045

    I've never succeeded with these. I lived in Saffron Walden for years, where it was grown on a commercial scale in the past, but still couldn't keep it. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,799

    I think summers were warmer and drier back then image  If I were going to grow it in the UK I'd look for a free-draining south-facing slope.

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Naomi2Naomi2 Posts: 2

    I grew them on a window sill in my flat last autumn, but have now moved to a house with a garden. When should I plant out the bulbs in the garden and should I just leave them drying out in the pots until then or should I continue to water them? Would be grateful for any advice!

  • Planted mine about 2 or 3 years ago on the allotment.  Have only ever had one flower.

    Thinking of digging them up and putting them in a big pot instead...

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 751

    They need to be baked by the sun to flower, they want full sun and good drainage and warm soil, people advise covering them with black chippings. Personally I'd feel I'd turned my garden into a graveyard if I did that but it is supposed to help. I've not had mine long enough to really comment from experience. I got mine from Parker bulbs, maybe it's nothing to do with me. image It doesn't look like any of us are going to be making it rich on Saffron anytime soon. image

  • I visited a saffron farm a couple of years ago - up in the mountains in the Pyranees.  The bulbs were grown on a steep slope facing the sun, in somewhat barren ground. As has been said already, they need to roast in the summer, then the autumn rains will bring them into growth, and flower.  The flowers were over quite quickly after which the plants quickly looked rather dejected.  Probably not the best bulb to grow if you're after nice flowers.

    I planted some up in my garden, but lost them all after a year - too wet, I think.

  • Naomi2Naomi2 Posts: 2

    Mine grew well on a window sill last autumn. Beautiful flowers and saffron but each only lasted 4 or 5 days. I'll plant them out now and see if they do as well in the garden. Thanks all

  • and the "saffron" that's worth a small fortune is the two or three red threads in the centre of the flower - quite sad to see a huge basketfull of petals pulled off to harvest a tiny amount of saffron!

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    karma, I would say you are too far north to make a fortune on saffron out of doors.image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,045

    I used to live in Saffron Walden which had a major saffron industry in the past. I couldn't get saffron to grow there though.

    I'm told that Gold Street, named for the saffron, was feet deep in discarded petals at harvest time. Might be a myth image

  • have a look at this video

    Might help


  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    In Roman times, globe artichokes were grown commercially in Britain; it was warmer then I believe and that would apply also to saffron, I think the climate became colder from the 14th century on.image

  • image

     well those are the petals...


    and these are the flowers growing in stony ground in France

    is this what you are expecting?


  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    I only once ever bought saffron; added it to the meal I was cooking and to my palate it made no difference in flavour at all. I think it may be more expensive than gold.image

  • no offence taken Edd - just saddens me to see that large basket of beautiful purple petals against the tiny dish of red strands

    saffron jelly if very nice - it is basically an apple jelly flavoured and coloured with saffron

    I think the Romans mainly wanted the colouring, and one of the usual source for yellow was onion skins, so not to good in a sweeter dish!

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Yes Edd and Turmeric is supposed to be very good for youimage

  • well I've had absolutely nothing from them! Wanted to grow them for the saffron for myself but found that calendula is quite similar in taste and smell and much easier to grow!

    I shall give them to my granny who lives further south and see what she can do with them image

Sign In or Register to comment.