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Is your crocus not flowering? Crocus are an early spring bulb that’s normally really easy to grow but if your bulbs aren’t coming up or are growing but not flowering these are the most common reasons why and how to fix them.
Crocus are one of the earliest flowering bulbs in the spring and we often look forward to the bright, cheery colors.
But what if you planted crocus in the fall and come spring you don’t have any flowers?
Or possibly you’ve been growing crocus for years and suddenly they are struggling to bloom.
There are multiple reasons that could be causing your flowers to fail but they are all fixable with a little care.
Reasons Your Crocus Isn’t Blooming
1. Lack Of Water
When you plant crocus corms in the fall you may need to water them after planting.
Bulbs start growing roots in the fall to feed the bulbs when they start coming up in the spring. It’s much harder for them to do this if the soil is too dry.
If you notice the ground is dryer then normal as you are planting, or don’t get the normal fall rainfall for your area make sure to water them well. This is very important if you are planting in a drought.
Just don’t water so much that you make the ground stay soggy or the bulbs could rot.
2. Incorrect Fertilization
Often plants that don’t flower can be traced back to not being fertilized properly.
If your garden soil isn’t rich in organic matter then make sure to add a little compost to the planting hole.
If you’ve already planted the bulbs then top dressing the area with an inch or so of good quality compost can help.
This is also a good solution for fertilizing crocus planted under trees.
The trees use up a lot of the nutrition in the soil but you can easily replace it by allowing the leaves to compost on the ground in the fall or adding a top dressing of compost.
On the other hand, if you already have dark black soil rich in organic matter then you really don’t need to fertilize crocus at all.
Like most flowering plants adding too much nitrogen can cause a lot of green growth and less flowers.
3. Bad Bulbs
Sometimes your problem can be traced back to planting poor quality bulbs.
When you first bring home your flower bulbs check them carefully for signs of mold or rot.
The bulbs should feel firm, not soft or mushy between your fingers.
Spring bulbs are sold in the late summer or early fall and you want to plant the bulbs as soon after you buy them as possible. This will help to keep them from rotting in there packaging.
4. Compact Soil
Plants just won’t grow well if your soil is to compact. If your garden is heavy clay soil then make sure to add a lot of compost.
If you are using a traditional garden method then you can mix in a large amount of compost and till it down to 6 to 8 inches (15.24 to 20.32 cm) to help loosen the soil.
My preferred way is to build the beds up using a no-dig method. For this, you need to layer 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15.24 cm) of good quality compost on top of your soil before planting.
Adding compost will help to loosen the soil and add important nutrients the flowers need to grow well.
5. Birds and Animal Damage
There are many animals that like to eat crocus and can leave you feeling frustrated and feeling like your crocus just won’t flower.
To help figure out what the pest is, first take a close look to see if the flowers are coming up and growing at all.
If you see no signs of the plants then you are likely dealing with a pest that eats the bulbs or tops.
Mice, squirrels, and voles love to eat crocus bulbs. You can help prevent this by laying chicken wire over the top of the planting area. This will keep rodents from digging down from the top.
Unfortunately, it won’t stop them from digging in from the sides.
Similarly, rabbits and deer often eat the tops of the crocus down to the ground causing them not to flower.
You can try placing dog hair around your garden as the smell can help ward off pests or use a commercial repellent if you don’t have a dog.
6. Lack Of Cold
If you live in a warmer growing area then having a lack of cold weather in the winter could be the cause of your problems.
Crocus requires 8 weeks of cold to break their dormancy cycle.
If you’ve had an extremely mild winter or live in zone 8 or warmer then you dig up the bulbs and place them your refrigerator for 8 weeks before planting them outside.
If you are in zone 8 or warmer digging the plants up after they have finished blooming every spring, storming them and then refrigerating them in the later winter before planting will help you grow crocus blooms.
If you’ve made sure that your garden is well fertilized and protected from pests but you still aren’t getting blooms then overcrowding is most likely your problem.
When you plant crocus corms overtime they start to naturalize. This means that they form more little bulbs and spread through the ground where they were planted.
In time they become overcrowded and you need to dig them up and separate the bulbs.
Carefully dig up the corms and separate them, discarding any that look damaged or moody.
Then replant them giving enough room between each bulb. The good news is you will have lots of extra corms that you can start new gardens with or share with friends.
Growing crocus is a great way to feed bees and butterflies early in the season. But don’t miss these easy to grow flowers that attract butterflies too!
Kim Mills is a homeschooling mom of 6 and lives on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada. Blogging at Homestead Acres she enjoys sharing tips to help you save money, grow and preserve your own food.