Crocus vernus
Common Name: Dutch crocus 
Type: Bulb
Family: Iridaceae
Native Range: Eastern Europe, western Russia
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Purple or white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Black Walnut


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants perform best in gritty, well-drained soils. Avoid heavy clay soils or moist soil conditions. Plant corms about 3-4” deep and 3-6” apart in the fall. If corms are planted in the lawn, foliage should be left unmowed until the foliage yellows (about 6 weeks after bloom). Divide corms every 4-5 years. Plants naturalize well over time in open sunny grassy areas, beds and borders. Watering should be reduced as plants go dormant in late spring, with dryish soils generally considered best during dormancy.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Crocus vernus is an early spring blooming bulb (actually a corm) that is primarily native to high alpine areas in Europe (Pyrenees, Alps and Carpathians). Many popular hybrids of this crocus have been developed over the years. Species plants and hybrids are commonly called Dutch crocus, large flowering crocus, giant crocus or spring crocus. Flowers bloom in early spring for about three weeks (typically beginning in late March in the St. Louis area). Flowers close at night and open up in the morning, but usually remain closed on rainy/cloudy days. Basal, grass-like leaves. Foliage yellows as plants go dormant several weeks after bloom.

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 spring in reference to the spring flowering of this species.

Many cultivars of this species have been developed.


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.


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 beds, borders, rock gardens, in front of shrubs, along walks, in naturalized areas or in various other small spaces around the home.