Grow ‘Crocus sativus’ for Saffron

Saffron crocus

The expensive spice Saffron is made from the stamen of Crocus sativus.

What is Crocus sativus

  • Crocus sativas is an autumn flowering corm from the Iridaceae and crocus family.
  • The flowers are deep blue and the stigmas dark red or saffron coloured.
  • Crocus sativus throws up a spear of green leaves only after flowering.
  • Corms are cheap to buy and reproduction is by corm division. This crocus is infertile.
  • There are only 3 stigma to a flower so it takes 100,000 blooms to make a pound of saffron. This accounts for Saffron being worth more than gold weight for weight.

How to Grow Crocus sativus

  • Crocus sativus grow best in full sunlight.
  • I have just planted some corms in deep pots with good drainage and a bit of rotted bark to keep the compost open.
  • Raised beds would be another way of growing Saffron so harvesting and drainage problems are minimised.
  • Growing ‘Crocus sativus’ for a Saffron crop you need to collect the threads in the morning and dry the saffron.

You can buy Crocus sativus from Thompson & Morgan

Saffron whole close up

How to Use Saffron

  • Saffron from Crocus sativus has been used for centuries to flavour and colour food.
  • It has been cultivated by Greeks, Romans and Chinese for 3500 years and is now a cash crop in Afghanistan, Kashmir and Spain.
  • The Chinese use it as a medicine, in food and as a dye.
  • Crocus sativus is a brightly coloured but short lived flower in the rockery at the end of summer or early autumn

For other Autumn crocus


Photo Credits
Saffron crocus by kightp CC BY-NC 2.0 ‘Crocus sativus. The red stigmas seen on the left bloom are the more-precious-than-gold ….. Stigmas have already been plucked from the bloom on the right. The half-dozen corms planted in my front garden bed three years ago have multiplied to the point where I’ve harvested nearly a tablespoon of threads this year – enough for several risottos, paellas and other dishes in the months ahead.’
Saffron whole close up by notafish CC BY-SA 2.0


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