Everyone is acquainted with Crocus, the harbinger of spring. But the Saffron Crocus is a fall-blooming species that yields an essential spice.
A fancy spice from a captivating bulb
Saffron, the yellow spice, is acquired from the plant life of the Saffron Crocus, Crocus sativus. It is an crucial spice for coloring and flavoring positive foods, and turned into additionally as soon as used as a dye. In truth, the genus name Crocus is from the Greek and way “saffron.”
The genus Crocus is located specifically in the Mediterranean area, but ranges as a ways east as Afghanistan. The local domestic of Crocus sativus is uncertain however is concept to be Asia Minor. It has been recognised in cultivation for lots of years and turned into even noted in the Bible. Saffron Crocus is grown commercially in many parts of the sector but the best best saffron comes from southeastern Spain.
Blooms in fall
In popular, Crocuses may be divided into two agencies: the winter and spring blooming species. Many human beings are acquainted with the spring-blooming sorts. Usually the first vegetation to bloom in spring, they often appear whilst snow remains on the floor. Their arrival is warmly greeted after the lengthy cold winter.
Saffron Crocus belongs to the autumn-blooming organization. The vegetation and leaves start to appear at the same time, generally around October. The grass-like leaves finally attain a duration of one-1 half ft, but the 1 half of-2 inch wide plants upward push slightly Saffron more than an inch above the floor. The fragrant flowers are lavender or reddish-purple with spreading petals. The styles have 3 lengthy blood-crimson, drooping, stigma lobes, from which the yellow saffron spice is harvested. The anthers are also vibrant yellow but aren’t a supply of the spice.
Although not broadly used, Saffron is nevertheless a vital ingredient in positive dishes. Many Spanish dishes, specially paella, require Saffron. Saffron is likewise used in bouillabaisse and to coloration and taste rice.
The spice is acquired from the red stigma lobes of the plant life. They should be harvested through hand and about 70,000 plant life are required to make one pound of the spice. It is straightforward to peer why Saffron is the most steeply-priced of all the spices!
Through the 12 months with the Saffron Crocus
Grow it in a pot or windowbox, or within the garden, where it will be hardy most effective in the south. Saffron requires complete solar and blooms exceptional in areas with hot summers.
Plant in July-August
Plant the corms as soon as they may be acquired. Put them in a wealthy, sandy, nicely-draining soil mix. Use everyday potting soil with 25% extra sand delivered, or an same combination of peat moss, sand, and perlite or pumice. Plant six to eight bulbs in a six-inch pot, three to four inches deep. Water thoroughly, but now not once more until the leaves appear. Place the pot in a warm sunny spot.
Blooms in September-November
Flowers and leaves start to appear September-November, relying on when the bulbs were planted. Flowering maintains for about four weeks. Water regularly and do not allow the soil to come to be dry. A unmarried application of liquid fertilizer is generally all this is wished.
Green from December-April
Continue watering regularly, however do now not permit the soil become soggy or permit the pot stand in water. The leaves will start to yellow and wither towards early spring and watering have to be decreased.
Divide in May-June
Lift and divide the corms as a minimum every two to three years or maybe yearly. Clean the corms and replant them immediately in fresh soil. Place the pot in a hot, sunny spot for the summer season and do not water until the leaves seem again inside the fall.
How to harvest Saffron
Pick the stigmas as soon as the flowers open. Dry them right away in the solar on newspaper or on displays over bottom warmth. As quickly as the Saffron has dried, keep it in an airtight box out of the light.
Crocuses are rarely attacked by pests or diseases, however if grown exterior, guard from birds and small animals.
No vegetation. The plants have both no longer had sufficient solar, or have not been divided regularly sufficient. Keep the pot in a warm sunny area in summer time.
The bulbs rot. The soil is both too heavy or stored too wet all through the summer dormant length. Plant in a sandy, porous soil and maintain dry after the foliage withers.
Saffron Crocus will normally need to be ordered from a mail-order bulb nursery. Order and plant as early as viable.
Lifespan: Years, if divided frequently.
Difficulty quotient: Not particularly easy.
Size and increase price
Perennial, deciduous cormous flowers with 1-1 half of foot long grassy leaves. New corms are shaped each yr on top of the old ones.
Flowering and fragrance
1 half of-2 inch huge aromatic flowers develop close to the ground. They are lavender or reddish-pink with yellow anthers and purple stigma lobes which yield the Saffron spice.
Light and temperature
Saffron Crocus need a high-quality amount of heat to supply plant life, Place vegetation within the freshest, sunniest spot to be had.
Watering and feeding
Water regularly at some stage in the growing season and decrease watering as foliage withers. Keep dry in summer season. Little fertilizer is needed; one software at the beginning the growing season is enough.
Soil and transplanting
Sandy, nicely-tired soil is needed. Use normal potting soil with brought sand or blend a few from identical components sand, peat moss and perlite. Plants should be lifted and divided in early summer time every year, or at minimal each to three years. Replant at once.
None except to reap the Saffron if desired.
Saffron Crocus is an exciting and unusual spice plant so that it will thrive best in a warm sunny window in a pot or windowbox outside, or planted within the lawn.