Northern Shade Gardening

Planting Crocus Corms

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 Category: Bulbs

It’s  a lot of fun planting spring flowering bulbs in the fall.  As you bury the little brown lumps, you can imagine all of the spring colours that will appear. I’ve planted  360 crocus corms that will form a yellow and purple patch under the lilac tree. I’ve included some Crocus vernus for their large showy flowers, and some Crocus chrysanthus which will flower earlier, in charming soft colours. I placed the packages on the ground in their approximate positions, so you can see what it might look like next spring. I can’t wait to see them blooming in early spring.

crocus packages under lilac

crocus packages under lilac

These crocuses are being planted around some hardy geraniums under a lilac tree. The geraniums get a later start in the spring, so the crocus will flower unhindered, and when they are done, the emerging geraniums will help hide the foliage until it dies down.This garden area is in part shade, but there should be enough light for these sun lovers, since I limbed up the  maple earlier this year, removing some of the lower branches. It should be bright enough to open their flowers; I hope.

Crocus vernus (Dutch crocus) packages

Crocus vernus (Dutch crocus) packages

The Crocus vernus (large Dutch crocus) are planted together in the back half of the garden bed. They progress from purple to purple stripes to yellow, going towards the front of the bed. At the very back are the dark purple ‘Remembrance’. There is a small group of ‘Remembrance’ here already, and I’ve added more to extend the group across. Just in front are some ‘Silver Coral’ These are white with purple marks on them. To the left are ‘Pickwick’, which are purple striped, while to the the right are ‘Striped Beauty’, also with purple stripes. The ‘Yellow Mammoth’ are in front of all of the purple crocuses.

crocus chrysanthus (snow crocus) packages

crocus chrysanthus (snow crocus) packages

The earlier flowering Crocus chrysanthus (snow crocus) are at the front of this garden bed. These are smaller, and should flower first early next spring. I’ve planted them in a very similar colour arrangement. Across the back of the snow crocus section are some ‘Blue Pearl’, which are a very pretty lavender blue colour. To the left in front of them are ‘Fuscotinctus’, which are yellow with purple stripes. In front on the right are ‘Gipsy Girl’ (I’ve seen this sold as ‘Gypsy Girl), which are also yellow with maroon stripes. The pale yellow  ‘Cream Beauty’ are across the very front of the Crocus chrysanthus group.

Crocus vernus 'Striped Beauty' bulbs being planted

Crocus vernus 'Striped Beauty' bulbs being planted

Here are some Crocus vernus ‘Striped Beauty’ corms in their hole, ready to be buried. For small bulbs like this, I dig a hole about 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in) deep and about 30 cm (a foot) in diameter, and plant 10 to 15 bulbs in a random pattern. Then I cover the hole up, and tap it down. Afterwards I water all the bulbs to settle them in.

There are 360 crocus corms here so far. As I planted, I kept picturing what it will look like when the crocuses flower next spring. I think this purple and yellow patch will be very uplifting with its spring colours. I appreciate the earliest flowering plants the most, after the long winter desert of white. In spring, I’ve often wished that I had planted more bulbs, but I’ve never wished I planted less.

You can see and read more about how the Crocus vernus flowered here, and there are pictures of the Crocus chrysanthus blooms here. There is also more about planting crocus bulbs and what their flowers look like in this other post.

15 Responses to “Planting Crocus Corms” »

  1. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    September 22, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Wow, I’m impressed with the magnitude of your crocus project! I’m sure it will be bright & lovely in the spring, the colours cascade beautifully. I have just started planting bulbs for the year, and so far have some Cool Flame Narcissus and Botanical Tulips in the ground. I haven’t planted bulbs for a few years and am surprised at how exciting it is to know that they are tucked in and waiting for spring.

    I will be sure to let you know how my naturalizing attempt goes. Pictures of bulbs planted directly into lawns are always so stunning. :)

  2. Northern Shade :
    September 22, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Rebecca, I always enjoy the pictures you see of botanical gardens with rivers of bulbs. They look great in large groups. I’ve got some tulips to plant with more Muscari bulbs, and I’ve added more of the small blue and white bulbs, like Chionodoxa and Scilla in another part of the garden. I’m planting a large group of Muscari ‘Blue Spike’ in front of some early pink tulips, which I hope will bloom at the same time. I’ve debated about naturalizing some bulbs in the lawn. I will enjoy seeing how your planting looks.

  3. Gail :
    September 22, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    NS, A very helpful post for getting me thinking about how I want to plant bulbs for maximum effect. Your spring garden is always a joy and next spring I’ll be watching for these crocus to bloom! gail

  4. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    September 22, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I’m only going to plant a few bulbs into the lawn this year, to see how the timing works out. I’ve been doing some searching online and have read about some disasters, so I’ve decided to proceed with caution. If a small patch works well, then I’ll expand next year. Does your muscari spread rampantly, or is it reasonably contained? I also haven’t decided how to plant into the lawn, and if I should replace the little sod ‘caps’ over the holes or leave them open. :)

  5. Tatyana :
    September 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I’d love to plant more bulbs in my garden, but our soil is sand plus rocks. To plant them, I should remove the old soil and replace it with something better. The toughest part is “to remove” – it means hours of digging, using a pick-ax and picking out the rocks. I think your place will be lovely with all those blooms in spring!

  6. Northern Shade :
    September 22, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Gail, I keep expanding the bulb plantings this fall. I’m mentally bypassing that season in between fall and spring. It’s fun to plan, and then wait with anticipation to see the results.

    Rebecca, one reason I’ve delayed putting them in the lawn, is that I mow the lawn early to get rid of the dandelion flowers. I’m not sure how it would work in my lawn, although I really like the idea. A small patch is probably a good idea to test it.

    Tatyana, it sounds like you would have a lot of preparation before planting. I’m fortunate to have a fairly loamy soil, with no rocks. Bulb do like good drainage though, and it seems like your soil would have good drainage. We have a long winter, with little colour, so I always appreciate the first flowers the most.

  7. Joy :
    September 23, 2009 at 5:48 am

    NS ! You are very ambitious and energetic girl : )
    I too am excited to see how my little Spring bulb circle garden will look in the Spring .. we are always thinking ahead as gardeners aren’t we ? .. I can’t wait to get the rest of the bulbs in the mail from Vesey .. this is going to be a great little project .. and yours is amazing !

  8. Northern Shade :
    September 23, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Joy, I imagine you saw some wonderful bulb displays when you lived in Europe. If I squint, I see the colourful bulbs flowering amid the brown leaves on the ground. I have some bulbs coming in the mail too. I looked around town and could not see any of the Muscari ‘Blue Spike’ that I wanted, so I ordered some, and of course now I found them at a local greenhouse that got a later shipment. They made a great show last spring. I look forward to seeing photos of your circle garden next spring.

  9. Birgitta :
    September 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    So many! Please show us your garden when they are blooming!
    Birgitta

  10. Deborah at Kilbourne Grove :
    September 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I’m with you, I have always wished I had planted more bulbs every spring. This year I purchased 100 scilla to add to the 50 I put in last year. I am hoping to have a “blue” lawn, like the ones that I saw in Kingston. Now, I am regreting that I didn’t purchase three times that amount.
    I am not planting any crocus until I move to my house full time and get a dog. The squirrel population is huge, and they find crocus a delicacy. Looking forward to seeing pictures of your patch in the spring.

  11. Northern Shade :
    September 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Birgitta, I’ll post some pictures in spring. I hope they bloom well in this garden area. Between the early snow crocus, and the large Dutch crocus, they should flower for a while, first the front half, and then the back half.

    Deborah, so far, the few squirrels around here seem more interested in the spruce cones. I hope they don’t develop a taste for crocus.
    I love the blue of Scilla. I planted some more this year, along with Chionodoxa. I put them around a Hosta and ferns that come up a little later in spring. They should give some pretty colour before the foliage fills in.

  12. Lona :
    September 24, 2009 at 11:47 am

    What a colorful and pretty sight all of the crocuses will be next spring.
    We want pictures next spring ;-)

  13. Northern Shade :
    September 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Lona, the 3 dimensional crocuses should look a little livelier than the cardboard stand ins. The crocuses come in lovely spring like colours. I’ve been planting some tulips and Muscari now.

  14. Jackie :
    September 28, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    I love Crocuses…my Grandma always had lots of them and I’m reminded of her whenever I see purple and yellow ones together. Somehow I never have had good luck with them here but seeing your gigantic plot I’m encouraged to try again. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Northern Shade :
    September 28, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Jackie, late last fall I had the idea to plant a large patch of yellow and purple crocus, but it was too late, there were hardly any bulbs left available, so I had to wait until this fall to find and plant them. I love the anticipation of gardening.

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