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Crocus tommasinianus

Bulbs and bulblike plants, Perennials


Low growers, mainly from the Mediterranean region and the Caucasus. All have grasslike leaves, often with a silvery midrib; foliage comes before, with, or after flowers, depending on the species. Flowers come in a wide range of colors and are 1 1/2–3 in. long, with long, stemlike tubes and flaring or cup-shaped petals; the short (true) stems are hidden underground.

Most crocuses bloom in winter or earliest spring, but some bloom in fall, the flowers rising from bare earth weeks or days after planting. Mass them for best effect. Attractive in rock gardens, between steppingstones, and in containers.

All need six weeks of temperatures below 45°F to initiate flower formation; if your area doesn’t supply it, put bulbs in the refrigerator for 6 weeks before planting. Annuals anywhere.

Set corms 2–3 in. deep and 3–4 in. apart, in light, porous soil. Protect from gophers. Divide every 3 or 4 years. Won’t naturalize where winters are warm.

Crocus tommasinianus

This smal spring-flowering bulb produces slender buds that give rise to star-shaped, silvery lavender-blue flowers, sometimes with a dark blotch at tips of segments. Blooms very early in the year.

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