I know they leave the grass grow for awhile and have to put out a little sign saying why it isn’t being cut.”. 718. Plant hyacinth bulbs in full sun 3 to 6 inches apart 4 to 6 inches deep. If you mow too soon, the bulbs may not have the get up and go for another season of blooming because the foliage absorbs sunlight that converts to energy. Most seem to be species crocus, particularly Crocus tommasinianus, as well as Crocus vernus and its subspecies albiflorus. As with most plants with bulb roots, crocuses do not like to sit in soggy soil, which can cause them to rot. A thick, lustrous lawn does not allow for the bulbs to emerge and succeed. When planting in lawns, carefully peel back the turf, then dig out the soil and plant the bulbs. When planting small bulbs, such as crocuses, in areas of grass, lift or roll back sections of turf. For example, a 1-inch bulb should be planted four inches deep. Determine planting depth of Crocus bulbs, typically 2" to 3" Space bulbs 3 inches apart for smaller varieties and 6 to 10 inches apart for larger varieties. 4175 Whitmore Lake Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105 Every spring, by the time the weather is warm enough to start mowing the grass, Crocus will have finished blooming. “It seems to work best for the earliest bloomers. 3. I am carrying on this tradition at my new home, and in three short years the lines of my planting have blurred and every spring I am greeted by a carpet that is spreading across my front lawn. So as for allowing crocus plants to complete their growth cycle, there seems to be more than one way to accomplish it.”, And crocus typically do better in lawns that are thinned by too little sunlight, water, or nutrients. Grass that’s well-fed can out-compete crocus, and aerating runs the risk of damaging corms. For lawn naturalizing, you can plant the crocus randomly or... 2. Plant their corms under a tree or in a turf lawn. This seems to be true of the other lawns I see them in, too.”, Back east in zone-7/8 Arlington, VA, Julia Tanner wrote: “Here near the Potomac River, many lawns (including ours) sport crocus that come back year after year. You might ask them how it is cared for. They have persisted long enough now in my front yard to be considered a permanent fixture. I suspect benign neglect allows them to flourish since the turf is far from the thick sod that is such a desired element in many American gardens.”. Janet Cushman of zone-6/7 Oak Ridge, TN, wrote: “Though I haven’t planted crocus in lawns, I’ve had Crocus tommasinianus in a flower bed above a low retaining wall seed itself into the lawn below. Have fun, and keep us posted! The traditional, larger, later-flowering “Dutch” crocus, C. vernus, seem to have a harder time in lawns, though see the advice below from the Missouri Botanical Garden. Buffalo grass grows only about 6 inches tall, so it doesn’t have to be mowed if you don’t want to. Plant the right crocus. Plan (and plant) your crocus lawn carefully; with any luck, the bulbs will last for several years. Crocus Lawn, Missouri Botanical Garden, by. Steer clear of perfect rows. Some years it is more spectacular than others, but in February every gardener in town is very grateful for the sight.”, And Laverne Boehmke of zone-6/7 Saint Louis, MO, tipped us off to a celebrated public planting: “I have never planted crocus in my lawn, but each spring I enjoy the Crocus Lawn at the Missouri Botanical Garden in Saint Louis. The ones I’ve casually buried here and there in the lawn, on the other hand, come up and bloom nicely every year, though with no noticeable increase.”, From New England, Bill Andreas wrote: “There are several patches of what I’d guess are Crocus tommasinianus happily growing in the front lawns of several of the older farm houses here [in zone-6 Sudbury, MA]. The best bulbs to use are the Tommy Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus). Cut a rectangular flap about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide into the lawn with a sharp knife, leaving one end... 3. By all means! All rights reserved. Fork over the soil and add a little balanced fertiliser, such as Growmore. But “no more lawn crocuses for me. Many gardeners who have successfully grown crocus lawns recommend C. Tommasinianus, often known as “Tommies.”. They’re not very thick, for the most part. You may even grow them in your lawn where they will add a bright twinkle to the awakening grass. Indeed, my Old House Gardens order for this fall includes some C. tommasinianus ‘Pictus’ for my lawn. Happily, other readers reported great success. They are getting sparse now, but 25 years is a long time for these rugged little guys.”, And Mark Biggus of zone-5/6 Lockport, IL, practically crowed: “The lawn is the ONLY place I recommend planting crocus, as they get lost elsewhere. Don’t water. This gives the crocus foliage plenty of time to mature completely and build up the corms for future years. Crocus are one of the earliest-flowering spring bulbs. Linda Wallpe reported: “Here crocus do just fine planted in grass. Buy firm, undamaged bulbs. I actually like the crocus better in the lawn where they have to compete with the grass and don’t make such thick clumps as they do in the bed. Here’s what he told us about their glorious Crocus Lawn: 1. Here in Chicagoland crocus do fabulously, especially in the lawns. Not all crocus spread by seed, but some do so eagerly. They are tiny bulbs (just a few centimeters across). First of all, it takes hundreds of bulbs to make a good face — not cheap. If possible, score the underside of the turf with a hand fork to loosen the soil before replacing it. Step 2. Perhaps it is climate; perhaps it is the lack of manmade chemicals on our small yard; goodness knows I’d be surprised if the secret is the clay soil. How to Plant a Crocus in a Lawn 1. The owners do not use any herbicide, of course. Welcome spring's return with a colorful display of early-blooming bulbs. We took Laverne’s advice and called our friend Jason Delaney, senior outdoor horticulturist at the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the world’s premier public gardens. Plant in groups or clusters so you can mow the other area. 5. Pull the bulb planter … When To Plant Crocus Bulbs Like all spring-blooming bulbs, they are planted in the fall. I first noticed two flowers about five years ago, and they’ve slowly increased to about eight scattered plants. They were glorious that next spring, and for three or four springs afterwards, though each year they were less so. Plant those crocus in your lawn! Crocus is the best of bulbs to plant -- it usually blooms before lawns need mowing. In the lawn of my 1916 Craftsman bungalow, the crocus are in full sun, but the lawn is kind of thin in that area. The chilling period gives the corm the clue that it is not time to grow up through the soil. This prevents early tender shoots from getting zapped by freezing temperatures. We learned a lot, and though we won’t tell you that all crocus will thrive in all lawns, there are more possibilities than we thought — if you know what you’re doing. Plant bulb pointy side up. If you’re thinking about growing crocus in the yard, there are several things to consider. Crocuses are one of the best bulbs for naturalizing in a grassy lawn area. They also naturalize and spread by seed. “I have been successful with the species crocuses I have planted in two lawns. Many begin blooming in late winter. Growing Bulbs in Grass. The later bloomers get mowed too soon to do well long term. Tom Platt of zone-6/7 Hamden, CT, says there’s at least two ways to do that. Make a plan before you begin planting the crocus corms. Choose a spot where the soil drains well. If you’re thinking that naturalizing crocus bulbs will provide a more natural appearance, you’re right. In all cases, they are happily growing in somewhat thin lawns which are partially shaded by deciduous trees.” As for C. vernus, he added, “While there are patches of larger-flowered crocus persisting in other areas, none of those seem to be established in lawns.”, Helen Lord moved to England eight years ago, but she still reads our newsletter and offered this perspective from abroad: “Lots of older homes, parks, and even old churchyards here have crocus growing by the thousand in the lawn. Since crocus is considered a spring bloomer, you need to plant corms in late summer to early fall. The MoBot Crocus Lawn is planted in the bright shade of mature, deciduous trees. Firm the turf by … I postpone mowing the grass until the daffodil foliage starts to yellow in June. If you’re planting crocus bulbs in existing turf, you can lift the turf and roll it back carefully. Plant in the fall at the normal bulb-planting time for your area.. Plant handfuls of bulbs in relatively large holes. Small, early blooming crocus varieties have fine-textured foliage that blends well with lawn grass. The third method involves inserting crocus bulbs under the thatch of your lawn, so the crocus will fill your lawn with color prior to the greening of the grass. I did 25 years ago and some are still blooming every spring. But a well-draining soil is crucial. Sign up for our newsletter. My father planted crocus in his lawn 35 years ago and they have spread to a sprawl that is nearly 1/2 acre and is amazingly impressive in the early spring. A retired farmer in zone-5 Ionia, MI, told us: “Six years ago I planted daffodils and crocus in lawn grass beneath a long row of mature basswood trees. “I plant only the very small, very early types of crocus in the lawn, such as cultivars of C. tommasinianus and C. chrysanthus. Step 3. Crocus finish most of their food storage activities prior to the first mowing of the grass, so this combination works out very well. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Anything that kills weed sedges (which grow from corms) will also kill crocus, Jason explained. This is a great deal higher than most people like to cut their lawns. Although my basic motivation for this is to crowd out weed seedlings and to resist drought with bigger grass plants, I’m assuming it also allows more crocus leaves to remain as well. No one knows when they were planted (‘they came with the house’ is what most people say), so in at least one case they’ve been there for at least fifty years. But despite the work, I loved my ‘crocus lawn’!”. Crocus bulbs are small and only need to be planted about 3” deep, so it’s easy to plant a lot of them in a very short amount of time. They grow beautifully in zones 4 to 10 and produce wineglass-shaped flowers in so many color combinations of purple, white, yellow and even striped, it’s hard to decide which color and variety to grow. Crocus will thrive for years if planted in grass with a dry or fast draining soil. Two crocus lawns that our readers told us about are so remarkable that people flock to see them every spring. 2. I've tried planting daffodils in a lawn area, and their foliage didn't start fading until the grass was knee-high, a situation that didn't make my lawn-loving husband happy. Rodents: I had seen squirrels, chipmunks, and voles hanging around before I planted a single corm. To avoid growing daffodils that look formal – or like soldiers, as Alan says – … As Bill Andreas of zone-6 Sudbury, MA, explains, “old style lawn care” is best for crocus: “I’d say that the smaller flowered crocus can be quite successfully planted in a lawn that isn’t too thick in partial shade. Dig a … Not surprisingly, Jason endorsed C. tommasinianus, including its named forms such as ‘Ruby Giant’. Over the years, crocuses will naturalize. Many years ago a neighbor planted some C. tommasinianus in grass on a small rise across the street. Use plenty of bulbs so that when they bloom they grab attention.. The new soil is prepared and then the bulbs planted wherever they have landed after being scattered in a random pattern on the lawn. I think the grass simply became too competitive as well. In the flower beds the clumps can get so big and thick that they crowd out other plants and look messy when the foliage is maturing.”. Garden Bulbs Garden Plants Back Gardens Outdoor Gardens Crocus Bulbs Plant Pictures Bulb … We found that we could not leave the lawn unmowed until all of the foliage had matured, and so we always mowed off some of the yet-green leaves. Crocus is the herald of spring, offering 90 species of low-growing spring flowers (plus the autumn bloomer, Crocus sativus). In other words, apply ‘old style lawn care’ which consists mainly of ignoring the lawn, occasionally remembering to fertilize it with some nice manure and convincing a neighborhood lad to give it a weekly mow in the rainier part of the summer (for a handsome fee).”, Planting crocus in low-maintenance buffalo grass works, too, says, Susan Elder of Waynesboro, VA. “When I lived in New Mexico, I planted crocuses in a buffalo grass lawn that wasn’t mowed until mid-summer, and they did well there. “Years ago we seeded in a new front lawn and planted crocus at the same time. Thanks to everyone who helped make this page possible. Planting bulbs in lawns is just like planting bulbs in beds. If you’re fussy about your lawn and you like it perfectly manicured, you may not be happy with the little guys popping up all over the place. Choose from purples, whites, creams and yellows, in lots of shades, slashed through with pretty orange, purple and brown markings. We love crocus and plant them everywhere — except in the lawn. The lawns range from full sun to a fair amount of shade. The trees help keep the soil drier and the lawn thinner, both of which are advantageous for the crocus. Just imagine a lawn filled with blooms in colors such as bright purple, white, gold, pink or pale lavender. “I’ve seen old lawns in the [zone-8] Seattle area covered with crocus,” wrote Deirdre Zema. 2. The crocus varieties are at least C. tommasinianus and possibly C. chrysanthus as well.” (Opinions on C. chrysanthus are mixed; see below. On heavy soils sit the bulbs on a layer of sharp grit to aid drainage and help prevent rotting. Tragic, really, but the grass was just too vigorous.”, In dry, zone-6/7 Boise, ID, the species crocus in Margaret Lauterbach’s lawn faced a different problem: squirrels. “Some caveats, however: I mow my lawn at the highest possible setting, around 3 1/2”. You should prep the soil before you plant any bulbs. Plant the bulbs when the ground is cool in autumn, six to eight weeks before the first hard frost. Plant more. Email us at help@oldhousegardens.com Crocus like well-drained soil in a partial to full sun location. Don’t fertilize. The trees help keep the soil drier and the lawn thinner, both of which are advantageous for the crocus. This small, star-shaped variety is available in several colors, including “Pictus,” which provides delicate lavender bulbs with purple tips, or “Roseus” with blooms are pinkish-lavender. As we expected, several readers told us that crocus in their lawns had failed. If you are planting a large number of bulbs, it is easier to slice into the lawn, as if you were lifting sod. Plant bulbs in groups or clusters rather than spacing them in a single line along a walkway or … Here at Old House Gardens, for example, the striking C. tommasinianus ‘Pictus’ planted at the base of a hydrangea has sown itself into the surrounding lawn, and this seems to be common. The MoBot crocus lawn is never watered. Jason told us that MoBot plants an additional 5,000-10,000 corms in their Crocus Lawn every fall. Grass is looking unkempt by then but we’re reluctant to deprive bulb-foliage of the chance to mature. Drive through our neighborhoods any early March day and you will find them in lawns everywhere!”. Use the bulb planter to make a hole in the lawn. B: For a more natural look, plant crocus bulbs speckled throughout a garden, or under trees. Crocus are perennial spring flowering bulbs that scream “Spring is almost here!” here in Middle Tennessee. Early-spring crocus have much to offer and they needn’t be restricted to the flower bed. Bulbs can be planted closer than you would normally space them in a garden, but they should be planted a bit deeper; generally, plant them four times the height of the bulbs. Where it’s less thick, two or three crocus have persisted, but all the rest disappeared within a few years.”, Lawn overwhelmed the crocus in Nancy Crowell’s yard, too. So we asked our newsletter readers (including a bulb expert at the Missouri Botanical Garden), and they responded big-time. Plant crocuses in full sun or light shade in November, 3 inches deep and 3 to 4 inches apart. Choose bulbs that tend to naturalize (spreading by offsets underground and/or by seed) and that reliably come back each year. Plant these bulbs in autumn and they will flower in spring for many years to come. The MoBot Crocus Lawn is planted in the bright shade of mature, deciduous trees. If you’re planting crocus bulbs in existing turf, you can lift the turf and roll it back carefully. 4. Theresa Pepin of zone-6/7 Knoxville, TN, wrote: “The lawn of a historic home here (behind a beautiful curving brick wall) is such a phenomenon when the crocus bloom that we call it The Blue Lawn. Plant crocuses in well-drained or very gritty and free-draining soil or compost. Once established, the thick carpets of color require surprisingly little care. any readers told us that small, early-blooming species crocus did well in their lawns, especially Crocus tommasinianus, affectionately known as tommies. My outside hose was always frozen then, and we got very little moisture from the sky ever. In other words, give your crocus lawn “old-style” lawn care (see above). Early foraging bees appreciate their nectar as well. We’re not kidding. According to the article, “6 Must-Read Tips for Planting Bulbs in the Fall,” bulb-buying season starts in mid-summer and goes into the fall. “Tommies are the most squirrel-resistant,” he said, probably because they have alkaloids in their corms that other crocus lack. Crocus and scilla are among the first flowers of spring, and these carefree bulbs will grow almost anywhere, including right in your lawn. Perhaps the turf deters the critters, or perhaps the ‘Dutch’ crocus just taste better.”, David Enoch of zone-6 Warren, OH, had a similar report: “Crocus are a delicacy on the squirrel and chipmunk diet, and any I have planted in flower beds seem to disappear after a few years. Time the planting of your new lawn for September or October when the bulbs will be readily available from the wholesale supplier. You’ll get lots of foliage but no flowers. They grow happily in scruffy, thin lawn and in lightly shaded lawn areas under high trees. But eventually the enthusiastic claims of some other bulb-sellers made us start to wonder if maybe we were missing something. Choose the right site. 6. Crocuses. For a truly natural look, just scatter a handful of bulbs and plant them where they fall. “I also seem to be having some success with crocus in a very different type of lawn at my neighborhood library branch where I volunteer. If you like a lawn that is luxurious, lush and heavily fertilized, planting handfuls of crocus may be a waste of time because the bulbs have little chance of competing with a stand of thick grass. Crocus requires a minimum of 15 weeks of chilling to break dormancy. Top choices include species tulips and mini daffodils. How to grow crocuses – planting crocus bulbs in a lawn. Saffron crocus and other autumn flowering varieties need to be planted quite deep – about 10cm in well-drained, rich soil in a sunny situation and 7.5cm apart. Shop plant bulbs and a variety of lawn & garden products online at Lowes.com. Once the soil has been replaced and consolidated by treading lightly, you … By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer. I did have to mow it very low in late fall so the crocuses would show up when they bloomed in spring, and it didn’t green up until late May. Of course, when you have bulbs growing in the lawn, you do have to take care during ‘spring clean up’ not to rake, aerate, etc., where they live, and you may need to defer mowing in that area. Mowing probably holds them back, too. Plant crocus bulbs (corms) in informal groups, just three inches deep and 2-3 inches apart. The only attention this care-starved lawn gets is a periodic close cutting, which is infrequent and starts late. Crocus is ideally suited for a spot where grass is sparse – possibly a spot under a deciduous tree or in a forgotten patch of lawn. © 1993-2020, Old House Gardens. Lawn and Landscape: Get a jump on spring by planting crocus around the yard, beneath trees and shrubs and even right in the lawn. Plan (and plant) your crocus lawn carefully; with any luck, the bulbs will last for several years. Additionally, they tend to compete with turf more effectively than larger, late-blooming types. As you may have noticed, another key to success with crocus in the lawn is to avoid mowing their foliage so it can recharge the bulbs. Roll the turf back into place and tamp it so it makes firm contact with the ground. Hopefully it will inspire and guide you in planting a long-lived, ever-more-beautiful crocus lawn of your own. “I took the advice of one of your competitors and planted a smiley face in my lawn with yellow and purple crocuses,” wrote Carol Bradford of zone-5/6 Syracuse, NY. Dig a little compost or manure into the exposed soil, then plant the crocus bulbs. Daffodils, crocus and snowdrops add a beautiful splash of colour to grassy areas in spring. So now you know as much as we do. But don’t forget that annual rainfall varies widely across the US — St. Louis gets a lot less than Boston but much more than Denver — and that all bulbs need water when they’re in active growth, from fall (when they start new roots) through bloom. If the lawn is lush and gets lots of high nitrogen fertilizer it will stunt the flowering process of the bulbs. A surprisingly large number of perennial bulbs do well in grass, such as snowdrops (Galanthus), crocuses (Crocus), squills (Scilla), checkered lilies (Fritillaria meleagris) and plenty others charming bulbs. 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Mow VERY late. ), “Squirrels and other animals sometimes eat the [traditional] ‘Dutch’ crocus in our neighborhood,” Julia added, “but the lawn crocus rarely if ever seem to be consumed. There is a technique for planting bulbs in lawn that calls for peeling back the sod, planting the bulbs and then replacing the sod. They are ‘Dutch’ crocus, not species, and they grow mostly in part shade, in lawn that we never use chemicals on because of the children, pets, and wildlife. We’d love to hear from you! “They never did find all of them,” she wrote, “but in about five years nearly all of my crocus were gone.”. Choose a spot where the soil drains well. Plant the right crocus. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to mow for a few weeks, or until the tops of the crocus turn yellow. How to plant bulbs in lawns Step 1. “Ruby Giant” blooms are reddish purple, “Lilac Beauty” boasts pale lavender crocus with pink inner petals, and “Whitewell Purple” displays reddish-purple blooms. Plant the bulbs when the ground is cool in autumn, six to eight weeks before the first hard frost. Don’t aerate. To get one of your own, start with a turf grass lawn -- the thinner and more shade-challenged the better. Planting: Plant fall flowering crocus bulbs (corms) in late summer or early fall. See how easy it is to plant the bulbs in fall, and how fun it will be to see them come up next spring. The best time is 6 to 8 weeks before you expect your area to have a hard frost and while the soil … Planting Crocus bulbs in lawn ~ Saved by Annette Whayn-Haling. Crocus plants prefer a neutral soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0, and they're usually not fussy about the soil type. Replace the soil after planting, breaking down any large clumps and firm in gently, making sure there are no air spaces around the bulbs. One patch is at least 15 feet in diameter forming a nice lavender lawn. Step 3: To plant, dig a hole 2-4” deep for each bulb. So we ended up cutting them before they could bloom. The only problem was I had to carry buckets of water all winter for the crocus. If unsure, plant the bulb on its side. “I’ve not planted them there myself,” he wrote, “but I’ve had a few of the smaller specie crocus seed themselves into the thin, surrounding lawn from an adjacent flower bed. Find plant bulbs at Lowe's today. “Unfortunately, in our wonderful, wet climate [in zone-8 La Conner, WA], the lawn grew too fast — faster than the crocuses! The [traditional] C. vernus types are simply too large and too late to do well in a lawn, plus their foliage is so big and coarse that it looks ugly among the grass blades. They have increased to fill in that corner of their yard and have traveled across the street to bloom in a corner of my flower bed — but not in our lawn, which is mostly that dreadful, crabgrass-like zoysia grass.”, In zone-7 Farmville, VA, David Folkes actually prefers the self-sown crocus in his lawn. See what you think, maybe experiment with a handful in your own lawn, and if you’d like to add to the discussion, email us at help@oldhousegardens.com. Plant crocus bulbs in late autumn or even early winter and come spring you'll get to enjoy lots of sumptuous early colour. C: Plant in a container with well-draining soil. Don’t use weed-killers. or call us at 734-995-1486, M-F, 9-4 EST. They do very well there, indeed. That method would damage the tree roots too much, so it was out of the question here. You also need to pull weeds, add compost, rake the soil, and add sand if you have clay soil. Check out our monthly newsletter and our weekly blog. They don’t get much sun, and the thin lawn over hard clay is mowed, crocus and all, at three inches.”, In zone-6 Cincinnati, OH, tommies have seeded themselves much further afield. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Snowdrop, crocus and daffodil bulbs are inexpensive and make a … MoBot doesn’t mow their lawn till surprisingly late — mid-July, Jason told us, and some years not at all. Swerve a formal look. Let's Do Lawns Differently. So far they’re all thriving!”, AlJean Mackenzie of zone-6 Royal Oak, MI, reported enthusiastically: “Yes, yes, yes! Secondly, they lasted maybe 2-3 years, compared to the crocuses in my flower beds, some of which are going on 25 years.”, Across the country in zone-5/6 Spokane, WA, Jean Hollar also reported sad results. I welcome the delicate little show each spring, but I’ve never given them any special care. So here’s the evidence and advice. That’s because in our experience the only lawns they ever thrived in were (a) in photos, (b) in Europe where lawns are often as short as putting greens, or (c) in thin, scruffy lawns shaded by trees — and only Crocus tommasinianus seemed truly happy there. Rather than planting in straight lines or small groups, throw your bulbs into the air and see where they fall. Naturalizing, Spring Bulbs, Crocus, Narcissus, Scilla, Galanthus, Anemones Naturalizing bulbs is a terrific way to brighten up lawns.
2020 planting crocus bulbs in lawn