Jane McGary
Mon, 26 Dec 2005 12:11:02 PST
I'm not a "Crocus expert," but I can answer some of Diana's questions:
>Is it too late to sow Crocus seed?

Absolutely not! You can sow it at any time up to mid spring, and late-sown 
seed may germinate at an odd time and grow on through the summer. SInce 
it's best to leave the seedlings undisturbed for 2 years, their growth 
cycle will adjust during that time.

>Is it advisable to stratify seed of the species from higher elevations,
>(i.e. the ones that bloom in spring) if you live as I do, in a region with
>mild winters?

I don't think so. There are high-alpine crocuses, and they're hard to grow 
like most high alpines, but I haven't had any trouble germinating the seed 
here (though it is somewhat colder here than where Diana lives).

>In mild winter regions, can one grow the species from alpine regions?

Some of them are harder than others. C. scharojanii and C. pelistericus, 
for example, are alpines which are notoriously tricky at low elevations, 
but other species that grow at similar elevations can be unproblematic.

>I planted seed from NARGS of several species last year, some I stratified,
>some I didn't.  None germinated last year, but are germinating now.  Is this
>common/usual with Crocus - do they need a year or more to germinate?

If you plant them after midwinter, the seeds often germinate the second 
season. Also, some seeds may germinate one year, and more of the same batch 
the next year, so be patient.

>Do most Crocus offset, or are they like other genera, with some that offset
>well and others that reproduce mostly by seed?

A few do not offset routinely; I can think of C. moabiticus and C. 
baytopiorum, for example, although even these will eventually produce 
offsets, perhaps after 6 or 7 years. Some species seem to produce more seed 
than others in the conditions in which I grow them, e.g. C. hadriaticus and 
C. oreocreticus among the fall bloomers.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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