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Early Crocus

Crocus tommasinianus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Iridaceae (Iris)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, waterside, woodland.

Purple, 6 petals
Cup-shaped flowers with a white tube (stem). The flowers vary in colour from lilac to deep purple. Yellow to orange stamens, rich with pollen.
Linear, erect, grass-like leaves with a pale midrib.
Other Names:
Snow Crocus, Tommasini's Crocus, Tommies, Woodland Crocus.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Crocus tommasinianus, also known as the "Tommasini's crocus" or "Woodland crocus," is a species of flowering plant in the iris family. It is native to the woodlands and grasslands of central and eastern Europe, and is a popular garden plant. The flowers of C. tommasinianus are small and purple, with yellow anthers. They typically bloom in early spring, and are among the first flowers to appear in the garden after the winter. The plant has thin, grass-like leaves and grows to a height of about 8 inches. It is hardy and can tolerate a range of soil types and conditions, but prefers moist, well-draining soil and partial shade.


Early Crocus: Crocus tommasinianus, the harbinger of spring

Spring is the season of new beginnings, with bright colors and fragrant blooms filling the air. One of the earliest flowers to emerge from the ground and signal the arrival of spring is the Early Crocus, also known as Crocus tommasinianus. This delicate and beautiful flower is not only a welcome sight in the garden, but it's also an important source of nectar for bees and other pollinators that are starting to become active again after the winter months.

Crocus tommasinianus is a species of crocus that is native to the hillsides of the Balkans and parts of Asia. It is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soils and is well-suited to cold climates. The Early Crocus is also one of the most reliable and low-maintenance plants in the garden, making it an ideal choice for those who are just starting to develop their green thumbs.

The flowers of Crocus tommasinianus are some of the earliest to bloom, often appearing as early as January or February. The bright, violet-blue petals are speckled with yellow, creating a stunning contrast against the drab, brown landscape of winter. The flowers are small, but they are produced in large numbers, creating a spectacular display that can light up the garden and bring hope and happiness to those who see them.

Crocus tommasinianus is a popular plant among gardeners for its ability to naturalize in the landscape. This means that once it is established, it will spread on its own, creating beautiful drifts of color in the garden. This makes it a great choice for planting in large areas or for naturalizing woodlands and meadows.

In addition to its beauty and ease of care, Crocus tommasinianus is also an important food source for pollinators. The flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies, and other insects that are just starting to become active after the winter months. This makes the Early Crocus a valuable addition to any garden that is designed to support pollinators.

The Early Crocus, Crocus tommasinianus, is a wonderful plant to have in the garden. Its delicate beauty, ease of care, and important role as a food source for pollinators make it an ideal choice for those who want to bring some life and color to their gardens in the early spring months.

Crocus tommasinianus is also a great choice for rock gardens and other areas with limited growing space. The small size of the flowers and foliage means that they won't take up too much room, but they will still provide a big impact in terms of color and interest. In a rock garden, the Early Crocus can be planted in crevices and between rocks, providing a surprising burst of color in unexpected places.

Another advantage of Crocus tommasinianus is its ease of care. The plant is highly tolerant of cold weather and is virtually maintenance-free. It doesn't require any special attention or care, making it an ideal choice for gardeners of all skill levels. Simply plant the corms in the fall and let them do their thing, with the assurance that they will reward you with a stunning display of color in the spring.

It's also worth mentioning that Crocus tommasinianus is deer-resistant. This is important for gardeners in areas where deer are common and can cause damage to other plants in the garden. With the Early Crocus, you don't have to worry about any damage to the foliage or flowers, so you can sit back and enjoy their beauty without any worries.

Crocus tommasinianus is a must-have for any gardener looking to add a touch of color and beauty to their garden in the early spring months. With its beauty, ease of care, and importance as a food source for pollinators, the Early Crocus is a valuable addition to any garden.

In terms of design, Crocus tommasinianus is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of different garden styles. In a traditional English-style garden, it can be planted en masse to create a sea of violet-blue color in the early spring. In a more naturalistic garden, it can be used to create drifts of color that blend in with the surrounding landscape.

When it comes to planting, Crocus tommasinianus is best planted in the fall. This allows the corms to establish roots before the winter weather sets in. When planting, simply dig a shallow hole in well-draining soil, place the corms in the hole with the pointed end facing upward, and cover with soil. Be sure to plant the corms in an area that receives full sun to partial shade, as this will help to ensure that they receive the right amount of light and produce the best display of flowers.

Another important consideration when planting Crocus tommasinianus is the soil. The plant prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider amending it with compost or other organic matter to help improve its structure and drainage. This will help to ensure that the corms don't rot in the soil and will also help to provide the plant with the nutrients it needs to grow and flower.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Crocus tommasinianus is a great plant for containers. If you don't have a garden, or if you simply want to bring some early spring color to your patio or balcony, consider planting Crocus tommasinianus in a container. Simply choose a container that is large enough to accommodate the corms, fill with well-draining soil, and plant the corms as described above. The result will be a stunning display of color that can be enjoyed right outside your door.

In conclusion, Early Crocus, Crocus tommasinianus, is a beautiful and versatile plant that is a must-have for any gardener. With its beauty, ease of care, and important role as a food source for pollinators, it's a valuable addition to any garden, regardless of style or size. So, whether you're planting in the ground or in a container, be sure to add some Crocus tommasinianus to your garden this year and enjoy the beauty and wonder of the early spring season.


Early Crocus filmed at Fairy Glen, Parbold, Lancashire on the 18th February 2023.


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