TOW Crocus species

anthony goode
Mon, 03 Feb 2003 13:45:49 PST
Thanks Jim for your input on this topic.  You raise several
interesting points as well as bringing a few new species into the
arena.  (Images of all plants discussed have been posted on the wiki
page… )

Crocus ancyrensis does badly in the open garden here.  Flowers in year
one but usually midwinter in response to an unseasonal warm spell.
The flowers usually keel over immediately and it rarely survives to
repeat the performance the next year!  Why does it do better for you?
Well at a guess you have a more consistent cold winter.  This is a
plant that flowers near melting snow in the wild, such plants are
often difficult to please in relatively mild lowland gardens.  You may
find that the three gems you mention at the end of your note (CC.
baytopiorum, cvijicii (pronounced svee-each-e-i) and gargaricus) will
do quite well for you, they occupy a similar wild habitat to Crocus
ancyrensis.  All three are readily raised from seed (likely to be
quicker than waiting for the price to come down!)  The Archibalds
might offer one or more of these.

The colder winters may also account for disappointments with Crocus
sieberi cvs Bowles White and Hubert Edelsten.  You seem to hint that
they have been eaten by rodents but as both are hybrids with Crocus
sieberi subspecies sieberi in their genes excess cold might harm them.
Subspecies sieberi is recorded as being somewhat less cold tolerant
than the other subspecies, it is certainly less suited to open
cultivation here.

The move from city to sub-suburbs may account for recent failures with
Crocus goulimyi and Crocus sativus.  Both of these thrive under glass
here, Crocus goulimyi increasing quite fast.  However Crocus sativus
rarely flowers in the open garden, it simply is not hot and dry enough
in summer.  Crocus goulimyi grows OK in the open but only increases
slowly if at all.  Again it is likely that it needs warmth and
probably does not appreciate a really cold winter.  One of the few
things I recall from my University studies is that there is a
significant temperature differential between city and suburbs in
winter.  Your city garden probably had warmer niches than where you
are now.

Unusually we have had enough cold weather in January here for the
first garden spring crocuses (CC tommasinianus and sieberi atticus) to
be at the same stage as your C ancyrensis.

Tony Goode.  Norwich UK.  Mintemp -8C

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