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A picture of a Saffron Crocus

Saffron Crocus

Crocus sativus

Also known as

Saffron, St Valentine's Rose, Blood Of Thoth, Autumn Crocus

Photo by CandideUK (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








2 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Saffron Crocus

A photo of Saffron Crocus
A photo of Saffron Crocus

Saffron Crocus Overview

Crocus sativus is an autumn flowering corm that produces goblet-shaped, lilac-purple coloured blooms. Saffron - a precious spice for flavouring and colouring food - is obtained from the long, bright red, stigmas and styles in the centre of the flower. (Hence Crocus sativus's common names, among others, Saffron and Saffron Crocus.) Outside, grow Crocus sativus in a sunny position. It needs well-drained, poor to moderately fertile soil that is neutral to alkaline. Plant corms with the pointed end up at a depth of 10cm and only water once - in late summer - as they will rot if kept in damp conditions. Indoors, plant under glass in a free-draining growing medium, feed monthly and water regularly in the growing season but keep dry during dormancy. Crocus sativus is sterile so cannot be propagated by seed.

Common problems with Saffron Crocus

Mice and moles may feed on the corms. While in storage (dormant) the corms are susceptible to rots and moulds.

    Saffron Crocus Companion Plants

    Saffron crocus make a bold color accent in fall herb gardens, and are an excellent companion plant for sweet peppers, squash, pumpkins, parsley, rosemary, and thyme

    A photo of Rosemary


    Salvia rosmarinus

    A photo of Thyme


    Thymus vulgaris

    How to harvest Saffron Crocus

    Flowers open with daylight and are harvested in the early morning before the flowers wilt. The stigmas and styles are removed by hand and then dried.

    How to propagate Saffron Crocus


    Corms can be divided in the dormant season (summer).


    Seeds or bulbs.


    Special features of Saffron Crocus

    Attractive flowers

    The flowers grow near the soil and are a beautiful lilac colour.

    Autumn colour

    Attracts useful insects

    'RHS Plants for Pollinators plant'

    Other uses of Saffron Crocus

    Culinary, border, edging, rock garden, naturaliser, walls, rock garden


    The stigmas and styles of the flowers are edible. Saffron is considered to be the most valuable spice by weight.