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Crocus: Crocus pulchellus

Botanical name: Crocus pulchellus

Common name: hairy crocus

also known as (Mount Athos crocus, fall crocus)

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created by:
chief cultivator

Mercer island, Wa

at a glance

Soil: damp, alkaline, sand
Zones: 5a thru 9b

deer resistant, fall interest

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description for "Crocus: Crocus pulchellus"

C. pulchellus has lilac flowers with a deep yellow throat and white anthers rise without leaves around the end of September. The honey-scented blooms have a satiny texture. Like colchicums, autumn flowering crocuses are delivered in late August and September. Plant your corms promptly so they'll have time to sprout and bloom later in September, October and November. The colorful flowers of Autumn Crocus, so unexpected, always stand in sharp contrast against the browns and golds of autumn, renewing the gardener's forgotten memories of spring. --edited by dtd siegelgirl


Crocus pulchellus is a vigorous autumn crocus which naturalizes easily, producing numerous bulblets all around the parent corm to increase its numbers with surprising speed year by year. It likes best full sun, but will tolerate light shade. On overcast days they fall on their sides & look most untidy, but stand up straight & sturdy when the sun hits them, hence a lot stronger-stemmed than most other autumn crocuses. Native of Macedonia, Serbia, southern Bulgaria & northern Greece, it is commonest in Northwest Turkey & the Balkans. It grows four to six inches tall. Subtle, pale lilac flowers with purple veins occur mainly in October, often still showing in November. Its crocus grass does not appear until early spring before the cherry tree is fully leafed, so the grassy leaves will get enough light to recharge & reproduce the corms before the cherry releafs & casts it into shadow. The blooms in an ideal year can be very long lasting, up to or somewhat longer than six weeks, & a couple flowers may still be present up to the first week in December in our temperate garden. However, they are, alas, easily beaten down by the rain, so while in some years they may show themselves to good advantage for three to six weeks, in other years a good storm can batter them to bits right away. That's just one of the chances one takes for crocuses whether autumn or spring varieties. Having a maximum range of varieties that open in different weeks & months increases the probability of a fine showing for some in some years, others in other years. It is therefore wise to assume they need a somewhat dense groundcover to hold them up. As a broad generality with exceptions, autumn-blooming crocuses (despite being of many species) do not have a broad range of colors. Blue or blue-violet is about the extent of it, though C. niveus & a couple others are white, & many of the blue species have white forms. Even though C. pulchellus is in that "usual" category of blue-violet, I find that it stands out dramatically by its exceedingly pale & rather luminous look. It wants organically rich soil well-draining but moist in autumn through early spring, drier late spring & summer. It is fairly forgiving & easy to grow, one of the autumn bloomers that is most certain to self-seed & spread about. [Source:]    

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