Botanical crocuses - the earliest and most desirable
Although the presence of crocuses in the garden is fleeting, we are always looking forward to the return of these spring messengers next year. Crocuses are one of the earliest primroses, whose flowering begins as soon as the snow melts. However, the timing of flowering may vary depending on species and varieties. This article is about the earliest crocus species that bloom in late March or early April.
Crocuses do not bloom in the snow
People began to grow crocuses another 500 years before the advent of AD. In ancient times, these plants were mainly used as a spice (saffron), a medicinal plant or as a dye to obtain an orange color. But today, in the first place, crocuses are appreciated due to very early flowering and delicate multi-colored flowers that look like tiny tulips and have a rich palette of colors.
Very often in the photo you can see crocuses blooming right in the sparkling snow. It seems that crocuses begin to bloom almost in a snowdrift, and with the advent of spring they literally “melt” out of the snow in a flowering state. But this, of course, is not so. The bulbs wake up under the snow, but their active growth begins only after the snow cover has come off and the sunlight will warm the “beaks” of young leaves that have appeared from the ground.
Rapidly developing, crocuses bloom very quickly, but changeable spring weather can turn into a significant new snowfall that completely hides flowering plants. However, there is no need to fear for these delicate flowers. The whole plant is covered with a wax coating, which reliably protects it from such cataclysms. As soon as the sun warms up again, the sleeping buds will begin to open, presenting a magnificent picture of the victory of spring over winter.
Early crocus varieties
In total, there are about 50 species of crocuses in nature, and in decorative gardening, spring blooming crocuses are divided into two large groups - botanical ("Snow crocuses") and Dutch hybrids. The second group is famous for large goblet flowers, but the first are more like a scattering of colorful stars and are distinguished by earlier flowering.
Botanical crocuses include many species and varieties, sometimes on packages with planting material you can find a clarification to which specific species this variety belongs.
Most often on sale you can find golden crocus, crocus siber, crocus tomasini and crocus yellow. But sometimes crocus can be simply designated as "botanical" (Crocus species Crocus bontanique).
But in any case, there is no significant difference between the botanical species of crocuses, they all differ in small flowers, very early flowering, small bulbs, and also grow rapidly, forming glades. Consider the most popular of them.
Crocus "Beauty Cream"
This variety has a very unusual shade of yellow. It is not as catchy as the well-known yellow-orange crocuses are golden, but also not snow-white, as varieties with boiled-white flowers that can merge with snow. Crocus Beauty Cream color is a very warm creamy shade, which can also be called the color of “baked milk”.
In the very center of the flower, the color becomes a little darker, and against such a rich yellow background, the remarkable bright stamens typical of crocus rise. The tips of the petals are rounded, so that in a half-open form, this crocus resembles a classic goblet tulip in miniature. On the outer side of the petals at the very base there is a small dark-colored mesh pattern that also gives the flower an originality.
Crocus Spring Beauty
This is one of the most popular varieties of Ziber crocus, whose wild relatives grow in Greece, which does not prevent this species of crocuses from successfully surviving winters in central Russia.
Crocus "Spring Beauty" can be without exaggeration called the most expressive of all botanical crocuses. Such it is made by very bright dark purple stripes that look especially expressively on the main delicate lavender background of the petals.
This crocus looks different throughout the day. In the sunlight, when the flowers are fully open, the Spring Beauty crocus resembles lilac stars with a bright orange pestle in the center. And as soon as direct sunlight ceases to fall on the meadow, the flowers close and show their bright purple pattern on the back of the petals.
Such "big-eyed" crocuses look great in the garden both against the background of white snow, and in the neighborhood with other spring flowers, especially those that are yellow in color. This crocus is slightly lower than other botanical crocuses and does not grow above 8 centimeters.
Another hybrid of the Greek crocus Sieber. As the name implies, a flower of this variety combines three colors. The main tone of the petals is purple, and in the center of each flower there is an expressive white ring surrounding a bright yellow center, from which yellow-orange anthers extend like a golden turret.
Such multi-color crocuses look very elegant and original. All their beauty can be seen when the flowers are fully open and well lit by the sun. But even when closed, the Tricolor crocus looks no less original: about a third of the flower (at the base of the glass) is painted in bright yellow, turning into a rich lilac color. A white strip can also be seen close between the two colors. Closed inflorescences also appear and the fourth color - a dark purple leg.
Crocus "Prince Claus"
This variety, bred in Holland, bears the name of the spouse of the Queen of the Netherlands Beatrix. "Prince Klaus" is the cultural form of golden crocus. And although this species of crocus, as the name implies, most often has bright yellow flowers in nature, this variety is distinguished by an expressive two-tone color of flowers, in which yellow tones are completely absent.
All two-color crocuses are valuable in that their appearance changes depending on the lighting. As with all species of crocuses, flowers are fully opened only when the sun shines brightly on them.
When Crocus "Prince Claus" is fully opened, it is a delicate snow-white flowers, consisting of six dazzling white petals with rounded tips. And on a cloudy day, you can observe the outer side of the petals, decorated with an expressive purple spot with blurry edges, making the flowers look watercolor. Moreover, such patterns are not on each petal, but scattered through one.
Crocus "Miss Wayne"
There are a considerable number of varieties of crocuses, both botanical and hybrid, with a pure white color. And although they are not as expressive as their brightly colored brothers, their touching tenderness cannot but cause emotion. And, probably, it is not without reason that most varieties of white crocuses bear female names.
Unlike other varieties of snow-white crocuses, "Miss Wayne" compares favorably with star-shaped flowers. The fact is that this variety has distinctly pointed petals, so that in sunny weather the glades of the Miss Way crocuses look like placers of snow-white stars, especially expressive against the background of dark earth.
But even if snow falls, snow-white crocuses will not be lost against its background, as they have noticeable bright orange stamens. In addition, this variety has a particularly strong pleasant aroma, and you can see the most pollinating insects on it.
In terms of color, crocuses can conditionally be divided into yellow and violet, and often yellow-colored flowers can contain small violet blotches, and purple flowers have patches of yellow. As for the Crocus "Advance", the coloring of this variety can be called unique, because it contains purple and yellow in almost equal proportions.
Moreover, when closed, the glass looks more violet, and as soon as it opens completely, it becomes predominantly yellow. From a design point of view, the combination of purple and yellow colors is the most harmonious, and that is why the two-color flowers of the Advance crocus are so pleasing to the eye.
Crocuses of similar original colors seem warm and exotic. This variety will certainly become the star of the collection of botanical crocuses, and they must be settled in the garden.
Crocus "Blue Pearl"
The name of this variety translates as "blue pearl." In some photos, this crocus looks really blue, but in reality its color can most likely be called light lilac.
Nevertheless, this does not detract from the beauty of this crocus, which can be called one of the most delicate and beautiful varieties in pastel colors. The Blue Pearl crocus will look great in the company of the equally delicate Cream Beauty crocus, whose petals are cream colored.
The base of the flower has a lemon yellow color, and in full dissolution of the Crocus "Blue Pearl" you can observe the bright yellow center of the flower and orange stamens. The inside of the flower is very light lilac, so it seems almost white. The outer petals have a blurry violet coating, which makes the flowers closed darker than when fully blossomed.
One of the smallest and earliest flowering botanical crocuses. This variety is distinguished by small flowers of bright yellow color with pointed petals. The color of the flowers is orange-yellow. Moreover, on the outer petals there are expressive dark longitudinal strips that are located through one on three of the six petals.
Such coloring makes these crocuses look like charming tiger cubs or bees. And although the flowers of these crocuses are much inferior in size to many other varieties of flowers, such sunny bright clearings must be kept in the garden, because the yellow-orange color always lifts the mood. In addition, this species of crocuses is very unpretentious, and it is growing rapidly.
Features of planting botanical crocuses
Botanical crocuses have smaller bulbs in comparison with large-flowered Dutch ones, so they need to be planted closer to each other (after about 5 centimeters from each other).
Small crocus flowers look good precisely in groups, so it’s better to immediately buy a large package of bulbs and plant a whole meadow, which will look spectacular next spring. Subsequently, the bulbs will form the kids and create a solid flowering carpet.
Botanical crocuses are planted in mid-September; on light soils, the depth should equal approximately two bulbs, on heavy loams - one. In heavy soils, it is recommended that river sand or perlite be added before planting.
Also, acidic soil needs to be prepared, which must be deoxidized by applying lime or wood ash. Otherwise, crocuses will develop poorly and may not bloom. The moderately fertile garden land does not need additional measures, since in general crocuses are rather unpretentious plants.
The most important thing when planting these primroses is to avoid places where spring stagnation of water can occur. In addition, the place for these primroses must be sunny.
Crocus is very winter-hardy and shelter for the winter is not required. After 5-6 years, overgrown jackets are recommended to be divided to provide crocuses with additional space for further education of children.
Landscape botanical crocuses
One of the most popular applications for crocuses is the use of primroses as a forcing crop. To do this, they are planted in the fall in a container and put in a non-freezing cool room, for example, in a basement or refrigerator. Then they take it out and put it on a bright window approximately three months after the rest period.
A similar method will allow you to get blooming crocuses by a certain time, whether it's New Year's holidays, Valentine's Day or March 8th.
In nature-style gardens, crocuses are often planted in bulk on the lawn. If desired, they can be grouped by islands according to colors or, on the contrary, create a motley mosaic by mixing yellow, white and purple tones. This gives the impression that primroses grew here naturally.
A similar method can be used in a regular style. In this case, from crocuses of various colors, you can create all kinds of patterns, curls and geometric shapes. In any case, it is very important not to mow the lawn until the crocus leaves fade.
Crocus flower beds often create borders or plant in groups among other plants. When choosing a place for crocuses in flower beds, it is better to place them near plants that subsequently bloom massive leaves, which will hide the foliage of crocuses that dries out after flowering, since it is impossible to cut off their aerial parts ahead of time. The best neighbors for crocuses will be hosts, buzulniki, brunners and other bushy flowers with a massive leaf blade.
From an aesthetic point of view, it is considered a magnificent combination of crocuses with evergreen ground cover plants - “rugs” (stonecrops, stonecrops, stonecrops, awl-shaped phlox, etc.), however after flowering it will be necessary to put up with the fact that the drooping foliage of faded crocuses will lie on the carpet for some time perennials and conspicuous.