Crocus cultivation and care: saffron as a business - pros and cons
An excellent solution would be to purchase crocuses for your summer house or garden. They will decorate any place, wherever they are planted, moreover, caring for plants is quite simple. You can also resort to their reproduction for sale. More details about these flowers and their cultivation will be discussed in the article.
Saffron (from Latin crocus) is a perennial bulbous plant, which is a harbinger of spring. As soon as the snow thawed, you can see its flowering. A well-known spice with an identical name is the seed crocus pistils, dried in a special way. Saffron has extremely useful properties due to its unique composition, it is used in many sectors of human life.
Types of Crocus
In botany, there is a typology that divides all varieties and types of saffron into 15 groups. One consists of autumn-flowering species, and the remaining 14 are spring-flowering. The market varieties that have gained great fame are distinguished as a group of Dutch hybrids. The second most popular group is Chrysanthus, formed by mixing golden saffron and two-flowered with its hybrids.
Did you know? Saffron — natural preservative. If you season them with a dish, it will be well stored without a refrigerator.
Two-flowered species is found in many countries, it differs in its natural form - the petals are simply white or with brown-purple lines, lilac with brown spots, etc.
Golden saffron grows in rocky terrain, its flowers are golden yellow, anthers are orange. Flowering time falls in April, lasts for 3 weeks.
Did you know? Eating saffron in food can be fatal. The annual norm for an adult is 1 gram.
This species is divided into varieties:
- Blue Bonnet
- I. Gee. Bowells.
The view of Tomasini in natural conditions is found in deciduous forests and on slopes. During flowering, the plant resembles a star with a white hole. The leaves are pink and lilac in color, and the tube is white. From one bulb grows up to 3 flowers 6 cm high. Three-week flowering occurs in April. The most popular varieties are Laylek Beauty and Whitesell Purple.
Next, species whose bloom falls in the fall will be considered. Beautiful crocus is found in mountain or forest areas, often in countries with a humid climate. Leaves can reach a length of 30 cm, purple flowers with purple streaks, up to 7 cm in diameter. Blooms in September. The most popular varieties: Albus, Artabir, Oksinan.
A pretty crocus is characterized by light lilac petals with dark lines, the height varies between 7 and 10 cm. 5-10 flowers can open on one plant. Flowering occurs in mid-September - October, the plant is resistant to weak frosts.Banana crocus has a gray, almost silver shade of leaves, reaching 15 cm in length. The flowers are light purple, rise above the ground by 12-15 cm.
Dutch hybrids (large-flowered) are prolific unpretentious plants that bloom in spring. Flowers are larger than their predecessors by about 2 times. Today, more than 50 varieties have already been bred; they are separated by color and group. Hybrids bloom in May, but their flowering is not too long - about 10-17 days. Varieties that combine with the climate of the Russian Federation: Albion, Vangard, Jubilee, Sniper Banner, Kathleen Parlow.
Chrysanthus hybrids came from a mixture of golden, two-flowered crocuses and their hybrids. Unlike the Dutch, there are not such large flowers, but the prevailing colors are yellow and blue.
The most famous varieties:
- Gypsy Girl;
- Lady Killer;
Today, the cultivation of the described species of crocuses is actively developing throughout the world. Fresh varieties of Chrysanthus come on sale - for example, Skyline, Parkinson.
The difference between landing in autumn and spring
The main difference in this procedure is the variety that you took - they are divided into autumn blossoms and spring blossoms. The first plant from the end of May to the first half of July - the climatic conditions of your region influence accuracy. If you expect to see flowering with the advent of spring, you need to plant plants in the fall. This option is considered the most popular among gardeners, it will be discussed in more detail.
Did you know? For the first time, European gardens were replenished with exotic crocuses at that time in the 16th century - these were Dutch hybrids.
Outdoor planting and care
If you decide to start growing crocuses in the open ground, when planting, you should focus on the following indicators: choosing the best place on the site, the appropriate soil, the presence of sunlight, the frequency of watering, as well as the traditional processing of saffron bulbs.
Before planting, experienced owners recommend disinfecting the plants in a fungicide (Fundazol, Maxim, Skor, Vitaros or simple manganese acid are suitable) or use growth stimulants (for example, Epin). Almost all solutions suggest such a consumption of the drug - 2 ml per 1 liter of water, but first be sure to read the instructions.
When the solution is prepared, lower the planting material into it and leave for 30 minutes. After the time has elapsed, immediately proceed to the landing; you do not need to wash the preparations.
If you did not find a fungicide, use a mild potassium permanganate solution - for this, in 1 liter of water you need to add potassium permanganate at the tip of the knife. Bulbs need to be processed in the resulting liquid for half an hour.
Landing time is directly dependent on the territory of residence and the climate. Saffron takes very little time to adapt - about 2.5-3 weeks before the onset of cold weather. The flower itself is not too whimsical, but the earth must be moist.
Focus on the weather - crocuses are planted when during the day the temperature does not exceed +6 ... + 8 ° C, and light frosts can be observed at night. In central Russia, for example, in the suburbs, this weather is set in December, sometimes in November. In colder regions, such as Siberia and the Urals, landing should be done no earlier than September.
Soil preparation and loosening
The most acceptable for saffron are light loam or sandy loam, but sand is recommended to be added to heavy soil, otherwise there are risks that the plant will not take root. On the site, you should choose mainly a sunny place so that the flowers are large and bright. If you live in an area that is flooded with rains and melt water tends to stagnate, you need to raise it before planting.
Closer to autumn at the selected place, cultivation is carried out with the addition of a standard dose of fertilizers: a bucket of humus or compost, a handful of ash per 1 m². For soils with a high acidity content, it is allowed to increase the amount of ash or slaked lime to a few handfuls - crocus likes a neutral or slightly acidic environment.
When the first stems appeared from under the ground, there is a need to carry out another mandatory procedure - loosening. To do this, take a short rake with a narrow base and a small number of small teeth. It is worth acting carefully so as not to damage the leaves and stems.
If you decide to try growing crocuses in your country house, take note of the following tips:
- crocus is buried in the dug hole so that on top of it there is a layer of soil two to three times more;
- the distance between the bulbs should be at least 10 cm;
- when planting plants in rows, it is also worth controlling the distance - at least 25 cm between them. If there is less space, then the flowers may not have enough space for full development;
- watering is necessary, but not overdoing, as in a humid environment, rotting bacteria and fungi form.
Watering and feeding
If the site with planted saffron in the winter was covered with a dense layer of snow, then watering is not required, since excess moisture can adversely affect growth. If the winter turned out to be snowless, then soil moistening will be required once every 2-3 months.
Important! To form the correct corms, it is necessary to apply fertilizer after the appearance of the first sprouts, during flowering and after wilting.
If all the subtleties of agricultural technology were taken into account, then the plant will practically not hurt. However, if you do not follow them, crocus can pick up viral diseases.
Their signs are:
- deformation and cracking of the petals;
- stunted seedling;
- yellowing leaves.
Their appearance can be prevented by treatment with fungicidal solutions. These flowers are often attacked by slugs, night lights, aphids and rodents - the only way out in this situation is to plant them near cultivated plants.
Sometimes you can see a flat-shaped crocus with gray small spots on the surface of the petals - this indicates a viral disease carried by thrips, mouse and aphids. You can’t spend time with diseased plants - you must immediately remove them from the front garden and burn them so that the infection does not have time to spread to the rest of the specimens. The place where the infected crocuses were located is watered with a strong solution of hot manganese potassium.
As a preventive measure, you need to carefully examine the purchased plants. If wounds form on the bulbs during removal from the ground, sprinkle them with wood resin and then dry at room temperature.
Digging and storage rules
Crocuses already ceased to bloom, their leaves began to turn yellow and dry out - these are signs of a suitable time for digging. After digging, the bulbs should be allowed to dry in the shade, and then hide them in a box until August.
The ideal storage temperature is + 22 ° C; over time, it gradually decreases to +15 ... + 20 ° C. At home, it is difficult to maintain accurate temperature conditions, so experienced gardeners clean the box in a dry, dark and, importantly, well-ventilated place.
Video: What to do with crocuses after flowering
Saffron can be propagated by seed or using corms. The first method is used extremely rarely, mainly with the aim of growing a rare variety. In this case, it is necessary to purchase seeds in large volumes. Planting material is well preserved, but for species that bloom in the fall, it is better to use exclusively a blank for wintering.
Important! To minimize contact crocus corms with weeds, it is better to plant them immediately in a pot.
It is recommended to disturb the saffron with autumn blooming in June - August, and the spring blooming - in July - September. The seedling is removed, cleaned from defects and dry scales.
Crocus cultivation as a business
The cost of the spice obtained from the described flowers breaks all records: 1 g can cost about $ 10. For one kilogram, connoisseurs are ready to give up to $ 1,000, and if it is of Iranian origin, then about $ 2,000. For this reason, many people want to master the drying technique on their own and open their own profitable business.
After performing the above steps, the flowers are picked during their flowering period, the pistils are separated by hand, and then dried. Like any action, there are advantages and disadvantages.
- The positive aspects include:
- quick payback;
- ease of marketing (market, spice shops, etc.);
- the ability to grow other spices nearby.
- The disadvantages include:
- hard labour;
- the need to immediately invest a large amount of money;
- hiring workers who have to pay salaries.
Saffron is a universal plant. These flowers can decorate an alpine garden, a border, a lawn or a flower bed, and a wide range of shades will help to create a bright composition pleasing to the eye. This is not at all difficult, the main thing is to adhere to the above instructions and recommendations.