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Mid March - April
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SAFFRON CROCUS GROWING INFORMATION
© Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Crocus sativus
Saffron Crocus; fan hong hua (Chinese); Safran (French, German);
ya faran (Thai); zafferano (Italian)
It is thought to have originated in Southern Europe and Central Asia.
Saffron Crocus is a pretty bulb with purple flowers, each with three stamens. It has been grown as a spice and a dye
since ancient times. The name is derived from zafaran, the Arabian word for yellow. It is famous as an ingredient in
paella, bouillabaisse and risotto. It is a perennial bulb to 40 cm high; winter dormant; frost hardy.
Requires full sun, will not grow in shade.
Deep, rich, very well-drained, pH 6.5; compost and well-rotted manures are
Recommended planting time:
Autumn, early spring. It does best in temperate areas and
dry Mediterranean conditions (VIC, SA, drier areas of NSW). It prefers areas with winter / spring rain and dry summers.
It is unlikely to be successful in humid, subtropical areas, such as coastal zones north of Sydney and QLD but if you
want to give it a try, plant it in a terracotta pot that can be kept fairly dry; be careful not to over-water. It is
unsuitable for tropical areas.
Plant with 5 cm of soil covering the bulbs
Space bulbs 15 cm apart
Whilst the bulbs are actively growing keep the soil moist; once
dormant, allow the soil to dry out.
Flowering time is autumn. Stamens must be harvested straight after the flowers open; each flower will only produce 3
stamens and each saffron crocus bulb will only produce 1 flower. The flower stamens are the world's costliest spice.
About 50 - 60 saffron flowers are required to produce about 1 tablespoon of saffron spice. After harvesting, dry the
stamens in a dry, sheltered spot for 3-5 days; store in an airtight container.
After flowering care:
Simply plant and leave - these bulbs will easily naturalise in
the garden. Divide every 5 years.
Not to TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered
by residents of TAS
. These restrictions
are very important as they prevent the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots
or strawberries can be sent to SA
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