Crocus chrysanthus
Common Name: snow crocus
Type: Bulb
Family: Iridaceae
Native Range: Balkans, Turkey
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: February to March
Bloom Description: Yellow-orange
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Thrives in sandy or gritty soils, but performs poorly in heavy clay soils. Incorporate sand if necessary into planting area to improve soil drainage. Plant corms about 2-3” deep and 3-4” apart in the fall. If planted in the lawn, foliage should be left unmowed until it yellows (about 6 weeks after bloom). Naturalizes by offsets and self-seeding, often forming large drifts over time. Plants go dormant by late spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Crocus chrysanthus is native from Greece to Bulgaria and Turkey. It is commonly called snow crocus (one of the earliest of the crocuses to bloom) or golden crocus (golden flower color). It typically blooms in late winter to early spring around the time of snowdrops (Galanthus) but usually before the popular Dutch hybrid crocuses. The upright, cup-like flowers of the species are yellow-orange, sometimes with maroon marking on the outside. Flowers have a mild honey fragrance.

Genus name comes from krokos the ancient Greek name for saffron (Crocus sativus.) It is one of the most ancient plant names.

Specific epithet means with golden flowers.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Squirrels, mice and other rodents can be problems. Squirrels seem particularly adept at locating, digging up and eating newly planted corms.

Garden Uses

Brings early spring bloom to the landscape. Mass in lawns, under trees or in sunny woodland areas. Large sweeping drifts can be spectacular. Also may be grouped in rock gardens, in front of shrubs, along walks or in various other small areas around the home.