This is far and away the most popular fall-flowering crocus, and here's why. In recent years, the spice, saffron, has become increasingly expensive, (often as high as $70 oz.) so more and more gardeners are growing their own. These beautiful purple crocus will open and offer you pure saffron on each flower's 'stigmas.' It's easy to harvest, and fresher than any you can buy.
Harvesting Saffron: When the flowers are fresh, simply remove the bright red stigmas you'll see in each flower's center; they carry the saffron spice. You can use it immediately in the fresh form, or dry it for later use. To dry your saffron, simply spread the red stigmas out for several days on a paper towel in a warm dry place. Once they're dry, store them in an air-tight container in a cool place, and use the saffron whenever you like.
Growing Fall-Flowering Crocus and Colchicum These two groups of bulbs are almost like magic. You plant them in late summer, and they bloom almost immediately. We ship them, along with Bearded Irises, in August, earlier than other fall bulbs, with instructions to plant right away. They're great in the ground or in patio pots---anywhere you want to add jewel-like color for your fall garden. In just days, you'll see them poking up through the ground, and before you know it they're in bloom, just when everything else in your garden is almost finished! It's a wonderful finale of color that just won't happen without these beauties.
If you've never planted them before, you'll find the regular 'fall-flowering crocus', including C. sativus,, the saffron crocus, much like spring bloomers (about 4-5 inches tall). Colchicums are different, since every bulb (they're larger than the regular crocus bulbs) produces a whole bouquet of flowers. One Colchicum bulb will send up between 5 and 10 stems, and each one will soon bear a flower.
So plant either or both, and enjoy some brilliant spring color in your garden when you need it the most--in fall!'