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Crocuses are a small flower notable for their early spring blooms. In dozens of shades from striped mauve to pure white, crocuses are often the first sign of spring's approach, sometimes blooming while drifts of snow still decorate the ground. Growing crocus bulbs is a relatively simple process that can be an excellent choice for a novice gardener. With a few easy steps, even a first-time gardener can ensure a crop of healthy blooms for years to come.
The first step to growing crocus bulbs is to purchase the bulbs from a nursery or grower. Crocus bulbs may be sold in single varieties, or may come in multi-variety packs that will produce a variety of colors and sizes upon blooming. While most varieties of crocus bloom in the spring, there are also fall bloomers that will need to be planted at a different time of year. Spring crocuses are usually planted in early fall and are available at nurseries toward the end of summer through October or November. They are relatively inexpensive bulbs, and look fantastic in large groups; consider buying a large bunch of bulbs for the first year of planting and then allowing the crocuses to naturally spread over the following years.
Observe a garden area to find the best place to plant crocus bulbs. Crocuses prefer full sun or dappled shade, so avoid areas that remain in the shade throughout the day. Well-drained areas are preferred, since crocuses do not do well in swampy areas that retain a lot of moisture. In terms of soil type and climate, the delicate blooms are not picky and can grow in a wide range of territory.
To plant crocus bulbs, dig small holes no more than six inches (15.24 cm) deep. For a dense clump of flowers, bulbs should be planted three to four inches (7.6-10.2 cm) apart. Plantings can also be artfully clumped around rocks, surrounding paving stones, or planted along borders. Bulbs should be planted with the pointy end up, since the plant sprouts from this area. After planting, simply cover the bulbs with soil and give them a brief watering.
It is possible to inundate crocus bulbs with too much water, so only water the bulbs about once a week. During the winter, crocuses will get most of their moisture from rain or wet air, making them extremely easy to care for. In chillier areas, some gardening experts suggest covering bulbs with insulating mulch during the winter, which will keep them safe from frost.
Crocus bulbs spread out after their first bloom, meaning that a crop of crocuses may keep growing larger for many years. While plants can be thinned out if desired, the varied hues and simultaneous blooms of this flower make it lovely in large groupings. Crocus bulbs can also be mixed in with other spring blooms, such as daffodils and snowdrops, for a truly spectacular display.