Crocus speciosus flops over?

leslie6riApril 14, 2011

Hello,

I ordered some fall crocus (Crocus speciosus, Crocus s. 'Conquerer' and Crocus s. 'Oxonian'), and just read a very interesting page about them at the Paghat's Garden website. (ALL of Paghat's comments are fascinating.) Evidently Crocus speciosus has very long weak stems and flops over as soon as it blooms, and 'Conquerer' blooms are bigger and even worse. Paghat experimented with planting these fall crocuses amid various ground covers to help prop up the flowers. She tried a couple of wild geraniums with some success and also Muscari boitroyides which produces grass-like leaves in autumn that help support the flowers.

Does anyone else have any experience and suggestions for displaying these crocuses well? I'm not looking forward to seeing these beautiful blooms smashed down in mud after a heavy rain.

Paghat lives in zone 8, Pacific Northwest and I live in Zone 6, New England. (--Just in case that makes any difference.)

Thanks for any comments,

Leslie

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I've only ever seen them growing in drifts in grass, my preferred position for any Crocus, spring or Autumn.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 9:58AM
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leslie6ri

Thanks, flora,

If I plant mine in grass my husband will mow them down. I can't risk it, smile. Mine will be in a raised bed, and I'm checking various wild geraniums for height. Maybe 'Biokovo Karmina' or 'Dilys'... I like the idea of earlier blooms on the geraniums followed by the crocuses poking through in Fall. I just have to be sure whatever ground cover I choose isn't too aggressive and is the right height.

And because I'm looking at geraniums, I found 'Rozanne' --which won't work, but I want one anyway --for that long, long bloom time.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 10:31AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

They are not very tall so you'd need to pick something that won't swamp them. Also they don't like rich soil so the raised bed would need to be filled with appropriate stuff. How about making the whole thing a miniature meadow with grass and spring flowering bulbs too? Plus cowslips and other small meadow/prairie plants. Or you could go for an alpine bed with all those lovely little things which need sharp drainage and which can't compete in a normal flower bed.

Alternatively plant in groups in the lawn, mark them and train your husband to steer round them.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 12:33PM
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leslie6ri

Hi flora,

Actually, that bed is rather like an alpine bed with quite sharp drainage. Right now I've got a variety of Trillium, Hepatica, Jeffersonia dubia, Anemonella... along with Spring bulbs. Once the trees leaf out there will be lots of shade perennials. I may have to rethink my idea of wild geranium/fall crocus in that particular bed anyway because it may be too shady in Autumn. It's high shade but it may still be too much.

I suppose I could make a new bed with lots of bulbs, spring and fall blooming. I've got a few Colchicum coming too --one each of six different kinds. (Because they're so expensive I want to see what they look like 'in person' and how well they do before investing any more money.)

"Train my husband to steer around them"... You're an optimist, flora. He'd never let the grass grow high enough for the crocus leaves to die back naturally --at least not in front of our house where I'd originally planned to put them. So maybe a bed in back just for bulbs...

Thanks very much for your suggestions.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 2:07PM
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