I suspect benign neglect allows them to flourish since the turf is far from the thick sod that is such a desired element in many American gardens.”. In the flower beds the clumps can get so big and thick that they crowd out other plants and look messy when the foliage is maturing.”. A thick, lustrous lawn does not allow for the bulbs to emerge and succeed. Anything that kills weed sedges (which grow from corms) will also kill crocus, Jason explained. The owners do not use any herbicide, of course. For a truly natural look, just scatter a handful of bulbs and plant them where they fall. “Years ago we seeded in a new front lawn and planted crocus at the same time. I actually like the crocus better in the lawn where they have to compete with the grass and don’t make such thick clumps as they do in the bed. If possible, score the underside of the turf with a hand fork to loosen the soil before replacing it. any readers told us that small, early-blooming species crocus did well in their lawns, especially Crocus tommasinianus, affectionately known as tommies. If you’re fussy about your lawn and you like it perfectly manicured, you may not be happy with the little guys popping up all over the place. “I also seem to be having some success with crocus in a very different type of lawn at my neighborhood library branch where I volunteer. Happily, other readers reported great success. Plant more. Since crocus is considered a spring bloomer, you need to plant corms in late summer to early fall. Dig a … Crocus are one of the earliest-flowering spring bulbs. They don’t get much sun, and the thin lawn over hard clay is mowed, crocus and all, at three inches.”, In zone-6 Cincinnati, OH, tommies have seeded themselves much further afield. 2. Don’t aerate. “Some caveats, however: I mow my lawn at the highest possible setting, around 3 1/2”. A retired farmer in zone-5 Ionia, MI, told us: “Six years ago I planted daffodils and crocus in lawn grass beneath a long row of mature basswood trees. Hopefully it will inspire and guide you in planting a long-lived, ever-more-beautiful crocus lawn of your own. They grow beautifully in zones 4 to 10 and produce wineglass-shaped flowers in so many color combinations of purple, white, yellow and even striped, it’s hard to decide which color and variety to grow. That’s because in our experience the only lawns they ever thrived in were (a) in photos, (b) in Europe where lawns are often as short as putting greens, or (c) in thin, scruffy lawns shaded by trees — and only Crocus tommasinianus seemed truly happy there. No one knows when they were planted (‘they came with the house’ is what most people say), so in at least one case they’ve been there for at least fifty years. The ones I’ve casually buried here and there in the lawn, on the other hand, come up and bloom nicely every year, though with no noticeable increase.”, From New England, Bill Andreas wrote: “There are several patches of what I’d guess are Crocus tommasinianus happily growing in the front lawns of several of the older farm houses here [in zone-6 Sudbury, MA]. Once the soil has been replaced and consolidated by treading lightly, you … Choose from purples, whites, creams and yellows, in lots of shades, slashed through with pretty orange, purple and brown markings. 2. Choose bulbs that tend to naturalize (spreading by offsets underground and/or by seed) and that reliably come back each year. We’re not kidding. In all cases, they are happily growing in somewhat thin lawns which are partially shaded by deciduous trees.” As for C. vernus, he added, “While there are patches of larger-flowered crocus persisting in other areas, none of those seem to be established in lawns.”, Helen Lord moved to England eight years ago, but she still reads our newsletter and offered this perspective from abroad: “Lots of older homes, parks, and even old churchyards here have crocus growing by the thousand in the lawn. Find plant bulbs at Lowe's today. Welcome spring's return with a colorful display of early-blooming bulbs. The MoBot Crocus Lawn is planted in the bright shade of mature, deciduous trees. Crocus are perennial spring flowering bulbs that scream “Spring is almost here!” here in Middle Tennessee. As with most plants with bulb roots, crocuses do not like to sit in soggy soil, which can cause them to rot. The best time is 6 to 8 weeks before you expect your area to have a hard frost and while the soil … If the lawn is lush and gets lots of high nitrogen fertilizer it will stunt the flowering process of the bulbs. Rather than planting in straight lines or small groups, throw your bulbs into the air and see where they fall. Janet Cushman of zone-6/7 Oak Ridge, TN, wrote: “Though I haven’t planted crocus in lawns, I’ve had Crocus tommasinianus in a flower bed above a low retaining wall seed itself into the lawn below. Use the bulb planter to make a hole in the lawn. Buy firm, undamaged bulbs. When planting small bulbs, such as crocuses, in areas of grass, lift or roll back sections of turf. So far they’re all thriving!”, AlJean Mackenzie of zone-6 Royal Oak, MI, reported enthusiastically: “Yes, yes, yes! Additionally, they tend to compete with turf more effectively than larger, late-blooming types. “Unfortunately, in our wonderful, wet climate [in zone-8 La Conner, WA], the lawn grew too fast — faster than the crocuses! Most seem to be species crocus, particularly Crocus tommasinianus, as well as Crocus vernus and its subspecies albiflorus. To avoid growing daffodils that look formal – or like soldiers, as Alan says – … Here at Old House Gardens, for example, the striking C. tommasinianus ‘Pictus’ planted at the base of a hydrangea has sown itself into the surrounding lawn, and this seems to be common. We found that we could not leave the lawn unmowed until all of the foliage had matured, and so we always mowed off some of the yet-green leaves. Plant bulbs in groups or clusters rather than spacing them in a single line along a walkway or … Tom Platt of zone-6/7 Hamden, CT, says there’s at least two ways to do that. The later bloomers get mowed too soon to do well long term. Many years ago a neighbor planted some C. tommasinianus in grass on a small rise across the street. “I plant only the very small, very early types of crocus in the lawn, such as cultivars of C. tommasinianus and C. chrysanthus. If you like a lawn that is luxurious, lush and heavily fertilized, planting handfuls of crocus may be a waste of time because the bulbs have little chance of competing with a stand of thick grass. The lawns range from full sun to a fair amount of shade. The traditional, larger, later-flowering “Dutch” crocus, C. vernus, seem to have a harder time in lawns, though see the advice below from the Missouri Botanical Garden. The only attention this care-starved lawn gets is a periodic close cutting, which is infrequent and starts late. Some years it is more spectacular than others, but in February every gardener in town is very grateful for the sight.”, And Laverne Boehmke of zone-6/7 Saint Louis, MO, tipped us off to a celebrated public planting: “I have never planted crocus in my lawn, but each spring I enjoy the Crocus Lawn at the Missouri Botanical Garden in Saint Louis. If you’re planting crocus bulbs in existing turf, you can lift the turf and roll it back carefully. As you may have noticed, another key to success with crocus in the lawn is to avoid mowing their foliage so it can recharge the bulbs. Snowdrop, crocus and daffodil bulbs are inexpensive and make a … 3. This seems to be true of the other lawns I see them in, too.”, Back east in zone-7/8 Arlington, VA, Julia Tanner wrote: “Here near the Potomac River, many lawns (including ours) sport crocus that come back year after year. Make a plan before you begin planting the crocus corms. So we ended up cutting them before they could bloom. Not all crocus spread by seed, but some do so eagerly. By all means! Planting: Plant fall flowering crocus bulbs (corms) in late summer or early fall. 5. Rodents: I had seen squirrels, chipmunks, and voles hanging around before I planted a single corm. Sign up for our newsletter. Crocus will thrive for years if planted in grass with a dry or fast draining soil. Plant the right crocus. Dig a little compost or manure into the exposed soil, then plant the crocus bulbs. We’d love to hear from you! Check out our monthly newsletter and our weekly blog. That method would damage the tree roots too much, so it was out of the question here. When planting in lawns, carefully peel back the turf, then dig out the soil and plant the bulbs. Many begin blooming in late winter. Just imagine a lawn filled with blooms in colors such as bright purple, white, gold, pink or pale lavender. If you’re thinking that naturalizing crocus bulbs will provide a more natural appearance, you’re right. Crocus is the best of bulbs to plant -- it usually blooms before lawns need mowing. Have fun, and keep us posted! Crocuses are one of the best bulbs for naturalizing in a grassy lawn area. Crocus like well-drained soil in a partial to full sun location. Step 3: To plant, dig a hole 2-4” deep for each bulb. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to mow for a few weeks, or until the tops of the crocus turn yellow. Planting Crocus bulbs in lawn ~ Saved by Annette Whayn-Haling. “I have been successful with the species crocuses I have planted in two lawns. Plant crocuses in well-drained or very gritty and free-draining soil or compost. They do very well there, indeed. First of all, it takes hundreds of bulbs to make a good face — not cheap. Crocus is ideally suited for a spot where grass is sparse – possibly a spot under a deciduous tree or in a forgotten patch of lawn. Many gardeners who have successfully grown crocus lawns recommend C. Tommasinianus, often known as “Tommies.”. Don’t fertilize. Secondly, they lasted maybe 2-3 years, compared to the crocuses in my flower beds, some of which are going on 25 years.”, Across the country in zone-5/6 Spokane, WA, Jean Hollar also reported sad results. Email us at help@oldhousegardens.com Fork over the soil and add a little balanced fertiliser, such as Growmore. Crocus Lawn, Missouri Botanical Garden, by. You may even grow them in your lawn where they will add a bright twinkle to the awakening grass. Choose a spot where the soil drains well. In other words, apply ‘old style lawn care’ which consists mainly of ignoring the lawn, occasionally remembering to fertilize it with some nice manure and convincing a neighborhood lad to give it a weekly mow in the rainier part of the summer (for a handsome fee).”, Planting crocus in low-maintenance buffalo grass works, too, says, Susan Elder of Waynesboro, VA. “When I lived in New Mexico, I planted crocuses in a buffalo grass lawn that wasn’t mowed until mid-summer, and they did well there. Garden Bulbs Garden Plants Back Gardens Outdoor Gardens Crocus Bulbs Plant Pictures Bulb … For example, a 1-inch bulb should be planted four inches deep. Daffodils, crocus and snowdrops add a beautiful splash of colour to grassy areas in spring. They grow happily in scruffy, thin lawn and in lightly shaded lawn areas under high trees. Planting bulbs in lawns is just like planting bulbs in beds. © 1993-2020, Old House Gardens. Plant crocus bulbs in late autumn or even early winter and come spring you'll get to enjoy lots of sumptuous early colour. Over the years, crocuses will naturalize. The [traditional] C. vernus types are simply too large and too late to do well in a lawn, plus their foliage is so big and coarse that it looks ugly among the grass blades. They were glorious that next spring, and for three or four springs afterwards, though each year they were less so. This gives the crocus foliage plenty of time to mature completely and build up the corms for future years. Naturalizing, Spring Bulbs, Crocus, Narcissus, Scilla, Galanthus, Anemones Naturalizing bulbs is a terrific way to brighten up lawns. Plant those crocus in your lawn! Crocus is the herald of spring, offering 90 species of low-growing spring flowers (plus the autumn bloomer, Crocus sativus). Every spring, by the time the weather is warm enough to start mowing the grass, Crocus will have finished blooming. Where it’s less thick, two or three crocus have persisted, but all the rest disappeared within a few years.”, Lawn overwhelmed the crocus in Nancy Crowell’s yard, too. “I took the advice of one of your competitors and planted a smiley face in my lawn with yellow and purple crocuses,” wrote Carol Bradford of zone-5/6 Syracuse, NY. The only problem was I had to carry buckets of water all winter for the crocus. Plant the bulbs when the ground is cool in autumn, six to eight weeks before the first hard frost. Shop plant bulbs and a variety of lawn & garden products online at Lowes.com. You’ll get lots of foliage but no flowers. The new soil is prepared and then the bulbs planted wherever they have landed after being scattered in a random pattern on the lawn. How to plant bulbs in lawns Step 1. All rights reserved. This small, star-shaped variety is available in several colors, including “Pictus,” which provides delicate lavender bulbs with purple tips, or “Roseus” with blooms are pinkish-lavender. The chilling period gives the corm the clue that it is not time to grow up through the soil. Theresa Pepin of zone-6/7 Knoxville, TN, wrote: “The lawn of a historic home here (behind a beautiful curving brick wall) is such a phenomenon when the crocus bloom that we call it The Blue Lawn. Replace the soil after planting, breaking down any large clumps and firm in gently, making sure there are no air spaces around the bulbs. They are getting sparse now, but 25 years is a long time for these rugged little guys.”, And Mark Biggus of zone-5/6 Lockport, IL, practically crowed: “The lawn is the ONLY place I recommend planting crocus, as they get lost elsewhere. Plant the bulbs when the ground is cool in autumn, six to eight weeks before the first hard frost. When To Plant Crocus Bulbs Like all spring-blooming bulbs, they are planted in the fall. So now you know as much as we do. Mow VERY late. Plant these bulbs in autumn and they will flower in spring for many years to come. Saffron crocus and other autumn flowering varieties need to be planted quite deep – about 10cm in well-drained, rich soil in a sunny situation and 7.5cm apart. You should prep the soil before you plant any bulbs. So here’s the evidence and advice. But “no more lawn crocuses for me. The crocus varieties are at least C. tommasinianus and possibly C. chrysanthus as well.” (Opinions on C. chrysanthus are mixed; see below. Perhaps the turf deters the critters, or perhaps the ‘Dutch’ crocus just taste better.”, David Enoch of zone-6 Warren, OH, had a similar report: “Crocus are a delicacy on the squirrel and chipmunk diet, and any I have planted in flower beds seem to disappear after a few years. Choose the right site. “I’ve not planted them there myself,” he wrote, “but I’ve had a few of the smaller specie crocus seed themselves into the thin, surrounding lawn from an adjacent flower bed. Buffalo grass grows only about 6 inches tall, so it doesn’t have to be mowed if you don’t want to. I postpone mowing the grass until the daffodil foliage starts to yellow in June. If unsure, plant the bulb on its side. I welcome the delicate little show each spring, but I’ve never given them any special care. Grass that’s well-fed can out-compete crocus, and aerating runs the risk of damaging corms. You might ask them how it is cared for. We love crocus and plant them everywhere — except in the lawn. Plant crocus bulbs (corms) in informal groups, just three inches deep and 2-3 inches apart. Plan (and plant) your crocus lawn carefully; with any luck, the bulbs will last for several years. The MoBot crocus lawn is never watered. 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