The Q&A Archives: Fall Blooming Crocus

Question: I live in zone 24, and I have purchased crocus which are blooming now in the fall. What do I need to do for them to bloom again next fall? Do I need to refrigerate them? If so, when?

Answer: Famous as harbingers of spring, crocuses actually bloom over much of the year. The latest autumn-blooming ones bloom nearly to the time when the first of the spring crocuses begin. Crocus are native to the Mediterranean area, but most crocus sold today are Dutch garden hybrids.

Flowers of crocuses are 2 to 4 inches tall, cupped shaped or flaring. Colors range from white to blue, purple, lavender, orange, yellow, and gold. Some flowers are bicolored. The flowers close on cool dark days.

Plant Dutch garden crocus and other spring-blooming types in the late, and the fall- blooming types in late summer. Most hybrids are hardy to -40? F, with protected exposure and mulching.

After the flowering period you have the choice of leaving the bulbs in the ground or digging them up. If you leave them in the ground they'll multiply and naturalize. If you choose to dig the bulbs, wait until the leaves have completely died. Remove the soil from the bulbs and store them until late summer in a dry, well ventilated place. It's not necessary to dig and refrigerate the bulbs for bloom next year. They'll do well if you just leave them where they are.

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