Autumn Crocus Crocus nudiflorus

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
autumn crocus


The Autumn Crocus is a distinctive and charming plant, notable for blooming with vibrant purple flowers that often emerge before the foliage, giving it a surprising presence in the landscape. Each flower possesses delicate, slender petals that converge to create a goblet-like shape, which unfurls from a narrow base to a broader, open display, much like a graceful chalice reserved for the finest of occasions. The center of the flower is typically adorned with prominent yellow or orange stamens that create a striking contrast against the purple petals, drawing the attention of onlookers and pollinators alike. Following the flowering period, the plant produces grass-like leaves that are glossy and green, providing a lush backdrop as the blooms fade. The leaves may exhibit a slender form, tapering to a point, and yielding an overall elegant and feathery appearance. As seasons change, the foliage eventually withers, leaving behind the plant's corm, which rests in the soil to once again bring forth its delicate flowers when the time is right.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Autumn Crocus, Naked Crocus, Meadow Saffron

    • Common names

      Crocus serotinus subsp. nudiflorus, Crocus salzmannii, Crocus oculatus.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Autumn crocus (Crocus nudiflorus) contains colchicine, a toxic alkaloid that can be poisonous to humans if ingested in sufficient quantities. The symptoms of poisoning include gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Further symptoms may include burning of the throat and mouth, abdominal pain, kidney and liver damage, and in severe cases, multi-organ failure. Poisoning can also affect the nervous system, leading to symptoms such as muscle pain and weakness, and respiratory distress. Extreme cases of autumn crocus poisoning can result in death, therefore seeking immediate medical assistance is crucial upon suspicion of ingestion.

    • To pets

      Autumn crocus (Crocus nudiflorus) is also toxic to pets, as it contains the alkaloid colchicine. If pets consume any part of the plant, they might experience gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea, which could lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Like in humans, more severe symptoms may include organ damage, particularly to the kidneys and liver, as well as symptoms affecting the nervous system such as weakness, muscle tremors, or seizures. These symptoms can escalate to multi-organ failure if not treated promptly. Autumn crocus ingestion can be fatal in pets, and it is imperative to contact a veterinarian immediately if a pet is suspected to have eaten any part of this plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-6 inches (8-15 cm)

    • Spread

      1-3 inches (3-8 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Crocus nudiflorus, commonly known as Autumn Crocus, adds aesthetic value to gardens with its vibrant purple flowers that bloom in fall.
    • Pollinator Attraction: The flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects, supporting local ecosystems.
    • Early Bloomer: As an autumn-blooming species, it extends the flowering season in gardens, adding color and interest after many other plants have faded.
    • Ease of Cultivation: Autumn Crocus is known for being relatively easy to grow and maintain, making it suitable for gardeners of various skill levels.
    • Naturalizing: It has the ability to naturalize, or spread, in the right conditions, gradually creating larger displays over time.
    • Compact Size: With its small stature, Autumn Crocus is well-suited for rock gardens, containers, and borders where space is limited.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antispasmodic: Crocus nudiflorus is believed to help relieve muscle spasms.
    • Diaphoretic: The plant may induce perspiration, which can be useful in fever management.
    • Diuretic: It has been used traditionally to promote urine production and relieve fluid retention.
    • Emmenagogue: The plant has been associated with stimulating blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus, possibly aiding in menstruation.
    Please consider this information as a historical or traditional reference. The medical properties attributed to Crocus nudiflorus should not replace advice from a healthcare provider.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Crocus nudiflorus, also known as Autumn Crocus, can be used as a natural dye, giving a range of colors from yellow to brown when used with different mordants.
    • The corms of the Autumn Crocus are sometimes used as a starch substitute in cooking, ground into a flour after careful preparation to remove any harmful substances.
    • In some cultures, Autumn Crocus is incorporated into rituals and ceremonies as a symbol of awakening or a new beginning, due to its early blooming cycle.
    • The flowers can be pressed and used in the art of flower pressing, serving as ornate decorations for personalized stationery or bookmarks.
    • Enthusiasts of eco-printing sometimes use parts of the Autumn Crocus to transfer their natural shape and color onto fabrics, creating unique textile patterns.
    • Gardeners sometimes plant Autumn Crocus as part of a deer-resistant garden scheme, as deer tend to avoid eating them.
    • The vibrant colors of Autumn Crocus can be used in photography, providing an attractive contrast to green foliage in natural landscape compositions.
    • Some crafters use the dried petals of Autumn Crocus in potpourri mixes for a subtle coloring effect rather than for fragrance.
    • The plant can serve as an educational tool in horticulture and botany courses, illustrating aspects of plant biology such as corm development and fall flowering patterns.
    • Autumn Crocus has been historically used to provide a visual marker for the changing seasons, indicating the arrival of autumn when they bloom.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Autumn Crocus is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Autumn Crocus is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Renewal: The autumn-flowering Crocus nudiflorus, commonly known as the Autumn Crocus, often symbolizes new beginnings and renewal because it blooms at a time when most other plants are fading or preparing for winter.
    • Hope: As one of the first flowers to emerge in late summer or early autumn, the Autumn Crocus is often associated with hope, representing the idea that there's always a bright spot to look forward to.
    • Cheerfulness: The vibrant purple color of the Autumn Crocus can symbolize cheerfulness and joy, bringing a splash of color to the end of the season garden.
    • Youthful Gladness: In the language of flowers, crocuses often represent youthful happiness due to their early spring blooming and bright colors, inspiring positive feelings reminiscent of youth.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Autumn-blooming crocus, commonly known as Crocus nudiflorus, requires moderate watering during its active growth phase in the fall. Ensure the soil is moist but not waterlogged by providing approximately 0.5 gallons of water per square yard once a week. During the dormancy period in the summer, reduce watering significantly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent bulb rot. Always water gently at the base of the plant to avoid displacing the soil around the corms.

  • sunLight

    Autumn-blooming crocus requires full sun to partial shade to thrive. The ideal spot for this plant is an area that receives several hours of direct sunlight daily, but it can also tolerate light, dappled shade, especially in hotter climates. Ensuring adequate sunlight is essential for the development of the plant's vibrant purple flowers.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Autumn-blooming crocus is adaptive to a range of temperatures and can survive minimum winter temperatures down to 20°F. The ideal growing temperature for this crocus is between 60°F and 70°F, which encourages healthy growth and flowering. It is essential to protect the plant from extreme cold and frost, which can damage the foliage and flowers.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning autumn-blooming crocus is primarily focused on removing spent flowers and yellowing foliage. Deadhead the flowers after they fade to conserve the plant's energy. Once the foliage begins to yellow and die back naturally, usually by late spring, cut it back to the ground. Pruning is only necessary once a year after the plant has finished its life cycle for the season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Autumn Crocus thrives in well-draining, sandy or loamy soil with rich organic matter. A mix of two parts potting soil, one part coarse sand, and a handful of compost is ideal. The soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Autumn Crocus bulbs should be repotted every 3 to 5 years to replenish the soil and provide space for bulb division. It's best to repot after the foliage has died back in summer.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Autumn Crocus does well in average room humidity levels. There is no need for high humidity; normal household levels between 40-60% are sufficient for this plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light with cool temps.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-drained soil; full sun to part shade.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Autumn Crocus (Crocus nudiflorus) begins its life cycle as a corm, which is a type of underground storage organ. In late summer or early autumn, the corm sends up its purple flowers, often before the leaves develop. After flowering, the strap-like leaves emerge and photosynthesize to store energy in the corm for the next year. Post flowering, the plant produces seed capsules that, once matured, release seeds for dispersal. Throughout the winter, the plant remains dormant underground. With the arrival of spring, the corm uses its stored energy to begin the cycle anew, albeit the plant may not flower every year, depending on energy reserves and environmental conditions.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • Crocus nudiflorus, commonly known as Autumn Crocus, is typically propagated through division, which is best done in the late summer after the plant has finished flowering and when the corms are dormant. The process involves gently lifting the corms from the soil and carefully separating the smaller cormlets that have formed at the base of the parent corm. These cormlets can be replanted immediately at a depth of approximately 3 inches (which is about 7.6 centimeters), spaced a few inches apart to allow room for growth. It is important to choose a well-draining location and to keep the newly planted cormlets lightly moist until they establish. With this method, the Autumn Crocus will continue to multiply and can be divided again in subsequent years.