Primroses in your garden. Part 5
Read the previous part of the pack: Grouse: species, reproduction and agricultural technology
Undoubtedly, in any garden area, perhaps the very first flower in our area, crocus, attracts attention.
The first thawed patches have just appeared, and the sun slightly warmed the southern slopes of the hills, as, piercing the withered foliage, its tender sprouts make their way to the light.
Name "crocus" most likely came from the Old Greek "Kroke" ("Thread", "fiber"), since the dried crocus columns (stigmas) resemble threads, fibers.
And the name "saffron" echoes Arabic "Zeferan" (that is, "yellow") - this is the color of the stigmas of the crocus.
The clothes of the ancient kings were sewn from yellow fabrics dyed with saffron paint. In ancient China, no one had the right to use such paint, except for the emperor. Saffron is mentioned in Egyptian papyri, in the writings of ancient doctors and philosophers. Long before our era, saffron flowers were used to make incense, exquisite spices and medicines.
Crocuses are the most popular crop for early spring and late autumn decoration of gardens, parks, and personal plots. In terms of the number of varieties used in gardening practice, they rank third after daffodils and tulips.
The color of their flowers is very diverse - all shades of white-blue-purple, creamy-yellow-brown tones and their combinations. Crocuses are divided into two groups - autumn and spring flowering. But such a division is conditional and associated with the peculiarities of the climate. Even in Latvia, the flowering dates of autumn and spring crocuses sometimes overlap.
Most crocuses require open, sunny areas. By skillfully choosing places for planting plastic species, for example, crocus vernus, you can significantly extend the flowering period of crocuses. At the southern wall of the house, they will bloom two weeks earlier than in an open place, and, conversely, flowering will be delayed if the same varieties are planted under tall trees.
An important condition for growing is good drainage. To do this, coarse sand or gravel is mixed with the upper (20-25 cm) soil layer. Many gardeners advise, before planting, to remove the top layer of earth, pour fine gravel (2-3 cm), then spread the corms on it, cover with the same layer of gravel, and then with removed soil. At the same time, the bulbs develop well, their digging is much easier.
In preparation for planting, they give (per 1 m²): 20 kg of well-rotted manure, 100 g of bone meal and up to 70 g of complete fertilizer with microelements.
In cultivated substrates, it is better to replace humus with neutralized high-moor peat, since crocuses are very sensitive to increased doses of nutrients, especially nitrogen. But this does not mean that you can completely do without it. Often in the fall, abundant rains wash out all of the readily available nitrogen from the soil.
Therefore, in the spring, when the leaves grow, fertilizing with ammonium or potassium nitrate is necessary (urea is not suitable, since nitrogen from organic compounds is not absorbed by plants at this time). Give two additional dressings of 40 g / m² - the first before the beginning of the growing season, the second - immediately after flowering.
The optimal timing for planting autumn flowering species is early August, spring flowering species - early September.
Most primroses are easy to grow. Planted initially in a suitable place and successfully integrated into the design of any, even the smallest garden, they will bring joy year after year.
In my area, crocus bulbs, as well as low-growing hazel grouses, due to their small size and, as a rule, a large number, I practice to plant in groups in baskets for bulbous. This is convenient both for planting and for further digging for reproduction - the bulbs are not "lost" in the ground and grow well. I also use small-bulb crops in planting with other bulbs, planting them in layers on top of each other, according to the "sandwich" principle. This method can be used both outdoors and in pots and flower boxes. This method is very popular with owners of small garden plots.
I do it this way: the first, the lowest layer and the deepest, respectively, are occupied by the bulbs that bloom last in our set, for example, tulips.
The next layer is made of bulbs that bloom earlier than tulips, for example, crocuses or net iris. This arrangement of the bulbs on top of each other does not create any problems for them. They bloom as usual, one species after another, but in the same place.
With this planting method, the flowers in your pot or box will bloom continuously for many weeks. Of course, do not forget about the combination of colors that will replace each other, but this is a matter of taste for the gardener. You should just remember about proper planting of bulbs in sand for good drainage and in order to avoid damage to their diseases, and if you put long-acting fertilizers during planting, then your flower "sandwich" will surprise and delight not only you, but also your guests.
Crocus cultivation is not such a troublesome task. In leaving, he is not capricious. Crocus is quite cold resistant. It can withstand a drop in temperature to -18 degrees, but it is better to cover plantings for the winter with foliage or a layer of peat.
As a rule, crocus blooms at a time when there is a lot of moisture in the soil from melted snow and you do not need to water it additionally. Crocus is a drought-resistant plant and when there is a lack of moisture, it gives small flowers, but if you want full flowering, nevertheless, when there is little moisture, crocuses should be watered moderately.
For good development and flowering, the crocus needs to be fed. A good fertilizer for crocuses is humus or compost soil. Such fertilizer is usually applied when preparing the land for sowing.
Some gardeners annually prefer to dig up crocus bulbs and store them in the cellar until the next planting, which allows you to sort out the bulbs, remove the sick and the weak, and eventually get large flowers and protect the bulbs from mice who eat them with pleasure.
Refers to autumn blooming crocuses. It thrives in the wild in the Crimea, the Caucasus, the Balkans and Asia Minor. Flowers large, numerous (up to 5 flowers per plant).
The size flower strikes - about 7 cm in diameter!
Flowers usually light purple with a purple tint. But today there are crocuses and other colors: white, dark blue, violet-blue, lilac, blue. Longitudinal purple veins are clearly visible on the petals.
Flowering period - early autumn. Plant height is about 10 cm.
The best varieties: Crocus Conqueror (photo)
Crocus Etruscan (Crocus etruscus, Tuscan crocus). Another name for this species is Tuscan Crocus. Refers to spring blooming crocuses. Comes from the north of Italy. It is listed in the Red Book. Flowers lilac color, pale outside, with well-visible light small veins and a yellow throat. This view spreads very quickly and, unfortunately, runs wild. Requires a sunny location. Plant height - up to 10 cm.
The best varieties: Crocus Etruscus zwanenburg (photo).
Crocus Susian (Crocus susianus). One of the most beautiful spring-flowering crocuses. It has bright orange flowers with longitudinal dark brown strokes. The petals are shiny, oblong. The size flower - 3 cm in diameter. Flowering period - mid-April. The flowering period is about 3 weeks.
The best varieties: Crocus Angustifolius (photo)
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Growing crocuses and caring for them
It is very easy to propagate crocuses: they give many daughter bulbs, and after just two or three years a dense nest is formed at the planting site, which is dug out when the plant has faded, divided and planted in a new place.
Spring-flowering crocuses are planted in the fall - in the fall - in the summer. They feel good both in sunny areas and in the diffused shade of shrubs and trees. In brightly lit meadows, flowering will be more abundant. Planting depth crocuses - from 5 to 10 cm, depending on the size of the bulb distance between bulbs - up to 10 cm.
Growing crocuses is easy enough to choose a place for them with permeable and loose soil: with stagnant water, the bulbs will rot. If the soil in the area is clayey, dense, heavy, add sand and compost when preparing the planting site.
Crocuses reproduce well and require little or no maintenance. Photo by the author
Crocus care is practically not required. You can mulch the soil for the winter with compost or foliage, remove the flowers as they wither so that they do not disturb the beauty of the composition. Do not pull off the leaves until they wilt by themselves, otherwise you may weaken the bulbs.
Crocuses at home
Growing crocuses at home in a pot (forcing) is quite an exciting experience. The purpose of forcing is to obtain a flowering crocus plant at home in the winter or just by a certain date. The Dutch breeding of spring-flowering large-flowered crocuses is better at forcing. For forcing, the bulbs are selected of the same variety and of the same size so that they are the same in height in the pot and bloom at the same time.
For forcing, crocus bulbs are dug out of the ground in the garden in August-September. After that, the bulbs are kept at room temperature (20-24 degrees) for two weeks. After which they must be removed for storage.
It is not always possible to make the crocus bloom by a certain date. It depends on the variety of crocuses, on the size of the bulb (if the bulb is large, the likelihood of rapid flowering of the crocus increases), on external factors, but you can still determine the approximate time.
To get a blooming crocus by a certain date, the bulbs must be kept dormant at about +5 - +9 degrees, first without planting in the ground. Approximately 3 months before the planned flowering, the bulbs are planted in low bowls with breathable, damp soil. The dimensions of the bowl should be such that the planted crocus bulbs do not touch the edges of the pot and each other. The planted crocuses should again be sent to the cold in the refrigerator or in the basement. Within 2 months, rooting takes place, and shoots appear. When the sprouts grow (3-5 cm), the crocus bowls should be brought into a room with a temperature of about 10-15 degrees. and put in a bright place, best of all on a windowsill. Crocuses will quickly grow and fade if the temperature is higher. And if there is little lighting, the sprouts will elongate, the flowering will weaken. Water the crocuses sparingly, when the top layer of the earth dries well.
About a couple of weeks after being introduced into the room, under good conditions, the crocuses will bloom and will bloom for about 2 weeks. After flowering, continue to water the crocuses until all the leaves die off. Remove the bulbs from the bowl, put them in storage and the whole cycle repeats. True, crocus flowers are weaker and smaller when distilled again.
Crocuses are the very cute flowers that are one of the first to appear on our flower beds. They, along with other primroses (primroses, hyacinths, lilies of the valley), appear in abundance on street stalls on the eve of the spring holidays. The second name of the crocus is “Saffron". Yes, it is the very same saffron that is so prized in cooking. Of course, not the flower itself, but the pollen obtained from the stigmas of this plant.
Pay special attention! All types of crocuses are called saffron. But spice pollen is obtained only from autumn crocuses. Ordinary spring flowers are unsuitable for this and are of no value in this respect. Moreover, some parts of spring crocuses are poisonous.
Taking care of a crocus is not difficult at all. No more difficult than daffodils or tulips.
A little about the plant
Sadly, but crocus bloom is very short-lived. It lasts a week, maximum two and that's all ... The flowers wither, only leaves remain, which last much longer - until the beginning of summer. The wilting of the leaves indicates the onset of a dormant period. With its beginning, you can start digging crocus bulbs. But this is not necessary at all. Crocuses are able to grow in one place without transplanting for up to five years.