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Autumn Crocus

Crocus nudiflorus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Iridaceae (Iris)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Grassland, meadows, roadsides.

Purple, 6 petals
Pale lilac purple flowers with a pale throat. The stigma is bright yellow or orange. Pollinated by bees and butterflies.
The fruit is a capsule.
Linear, grass-like basal leaves with a pale midrib. Perennial.
Other Names:
Autumnal Crocus, Naked-flowered Crocus.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Crocus nudiflorus is a species of flowering plant in the genus Crocus of the family Iridaceae. It is an autumn-flowering, dwarf, deciduous perennial found in southwestern France and Spain. It has long tubed purple flowers that appear in autumn. It grows in moist meadows and is hardy to UK zone 5. It is not frost tender and is typically planted in sunny areas.


Autumn Crocus, also known as Crocus nudiflorus, is a beautiful and unique species of crocus that blooms in the fall. Unlike the more common spring-blooming crocuses, autumn crocuses are a hardy and versatile plant that will bring a touch of early-season color to your garden.

The flowers of the autumn crocus are small and delicate, with delicate petals that range from pale lilac to deep purple. They are typically one of the first signs of autumn, blooming from late August to early October. The blooms are followed by narrow, grass-like leaves that persist throughout the winter.

One of the great things about autumn crocuses is how easy they are to care for. They are native to the woodland edges and meadows of Europe and Asia, and are well adapted to a wide range of growing conditions. They are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9, and will grow in almost any soil type as long as it is well-draining. They prefer full sun to partial shade, and will thrive in a range of soil types, including rocky or sandy soils.

One of the most common ways to grow autumn crocuses is to plant them in drifts or clusters, along a garden path or at the edge of a woodland garden. They can also be planted in rock gardens or between stepping stones. They are a great choice for naturalizing in a lawn, where they can be left to naturalize and spread, creating a beautiful carpet of fall color.

When planting autumn crocuses, it's important to keep in mind that they will bloom before the leaves on deciduous trees have fallen, so make sure to plant them in a spot where they will be visible. They are also great for planting in pots, either indoors or on a patio or deck.

In terms of care, autumn crocuses are low-maintenance and require very little attention. They should be watered regularly during the growing season, but once established, they are drought-tolerant and can survive on natural rainfall. They will benefit from a light application of fertilizer in the spring, and may need dividing every few years to prevent overcrowding.

Autumn crocuses are a wonderful addition to any garden, bringing a touch of early-season color to your landscape. They are hardy, versatile, and easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels.

Additionally, autumn crocuses are also an important source of food for pollinators like bees and butterflies, especially when other food sources are scarce. They are also deer-resistant, which is a big plus for gardeners in areas where deer are a problem.

In some cultures, autumn crocuses have also been used for medicinal purposes. The dried corms of the plant have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and digestive problems. However, it's important to note that all parts of the plant are poisonous and should not be ingested, so it's best to stick to using it as an ornamental plant in your garden.

When it comes to planting, autumn crocuses should be planted in the fall, about two to three weeks before the first frost. They should be planted about two inches deep and three to four inches apart. It's important to plant them at the correct depth so that the corms are covered and protected from freezing temperatures.

Autumn crocuses are a must-have for any autumn garden. With their delicate blooms, hardiness, and versatility, they are a great way to bring some early color to your landscape. Whether you choose to plant them in drifts, clusters, or rock gardens, or simply naturalize them in a lawn, they are sure to bring a touch of beauty to your garden every fall.

Moreover, the autumn crocus is also highly valued by gardeners for its ease of propagation. Unlike many other types of plants, it is incredibly easy to propagate and divide, making it a great choice for gardeners who want to create new plants for their garden or for friends and family. Simply divide the clumps of corms in the spring and replant them, or divide the offsets that form around the base of the parent plant.

In addition to its ornamental value, the autumn crocus is also an excellent cut flower. Its delicate, fragrant blooms are perfect for adding to a vase of flowers or for use in dried arrangements. They can be cut and enjoyed as soon as they open, and will last for several days in a vase of water.

Finally, it's worth noting that the autumn crocus is a relatively low-cost plant, making it a great choice for gardeners on a budget. A single corm can be purchased for just a few dollars, and will quickly multiply to form a large clump of blooms in just a few years.

In conclusion, the autumn crocus is a wonderful plant with a long list of benefits. Whether you are looking for an easy-to-grow source of autumn color, a source of food for pollinators, or just a beautiful and unique addition to your garden, the autumn crocus is an excellent choice.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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