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Crocus: Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'

Botanical name: Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'

Common name: early crocus

also known as (snow crocus, Tommasinni's crocus)

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created by:
chief cultivator

Mercer island, Wa

at a glance

Soil: damp, alkaline, sand
Zones: 3a thru 8b

deer resistant, poisonous, winter interest

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description for "Crocus: Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'"

'Ruby Giant' produces deep violet-purple blooms with a lighter colored base. Winter will end eventually, but for those impatient persons, Mother Nature gave us crocus. These corms are so optimistic that winter is finally over; they will even bloom through snow. Crocuses are the easiest spring flowers to grow! Once planted all you need to do is wait for an impressive start to the spring season. Corms naturalize well through multiplication and reseeding. Plant corms in clusters of at least 25 to 50. Large clusters of 100 or more are spectacular. Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants usually perform poorly in heavy clay soils. Incorporate sand if necessary into the planting area to improve soil drainage. Plant corms about 3-4” deep and 3-4” apart in the fall. If planted in the lawn, foliage should be left unmowed until it yellows (about 6 weeks after bloom). Species plants naturalize by offsets and self-seeding. ‘Ruby Giant’ is reportedly sterile. Plants go dormant by late spring. --edited by dtd siegelgirl


Crocuses are among the most widely grown early spring bulbs (actually corms). Crocus tommasinianus is native to hillsides and woodland areas from southern Hungary into the northern Balkans. It is sometimes commonly called snow crocus because it is one of the earliest of the crocuses to bloom. Species name honors Muzo Giuseppe Spirito de Tommasini (1794-1879), botanist from Trieste. ‘Ruby Giant’ is a cultivar that grows to 4-6” tall and features star-shaped, deep violet-purple flowers with yellow-orange anthers. It typically blooms in late winter to early spring (March in St. Louis), usually before the popular Dutch hybrid crocuses. Basal, grass-like leaves. Flowers close at night and open up in the morning, but usually remain closed on rainy/cloudy days. Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Squirrels, mice and other rodents can be problems for many species of crocus, but reportedly less so for C. tommasinianus.

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