Ligurian Crocus Crocus ligusticus

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


The Crocus ligusticus, also known as the Ligurian Crocus, is a flowering plant noted for its vibrant and eye-catching flowers. This variety of crocus typically blooms in the early spring, showcasing its blossoms before many other plants have awakened from their winter slumber. The flowers of the Ligurian Crocus emerge from the ground with a slender, tube-like structure which then opens up to form star-shaped flowers. The petals are generally of a lilac or purple hue, often with a silvery or white shimmer that enhances their delicate appearance. Each flower typically has six petals that are symmetrically arranged around a central, usually yellow or orange, stamen which adds a striking contrast to the flower's color. Surrounding the flowers are grass-like leaves that are narrow and elongated, with a dark green color that can sometimes have a silvery or bluish tinge. These leaves often feature a central stripe that runs along their length, which may be a paler green or white. The Ligurian Crocus is easily recognizable when in bloom, mainly because of its flowers that provide a pop of color in early spring gardens or wild settings, as it is capable of thriving in a variety of soil conditions and can be often found in grassy slopes or open woodlands in its natural habitat.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Ligurian Crocus

    • Common names

      Crocus serotinus subsp. ligusticus, Crocus serotinus var. ligusticus.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Crocus ligusticus is not commonly reported as a toxic plant to humans. However, it is important to note that most parts of plants in the Crocus genus, especially bulbs, can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested. While Crocus ligusticus itself is not widely recognized for its toxicity, confusion with other toxic species, such as plants from the Colchicum genus (autumn crocus), is possible. These contain colchicine, a toxic alkaloid. If a person ingests part of a toxic crocus by mistake, symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, kidney and liver damage, and in severe cases, respiratory failure and death. It is crucial to identify the plant correctly to avoid accidental poisoning.

    • To pets

      Crocus ligusticus is not commonly reported as a toxic plant to pets. Similar to its effects on humans, members of the Crocus genus, in general, are not typically considered highly toxic to pets. Nonetheless, bulbs of some Crocus species can potentially cause gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea, if ingested. Nevertheless, it is essential for pet owners to distinguish Crocus ligusticus from other more toxic species, such as the autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale), which is very poisonous to pets and can cause symptoms like gastrointestinal upset, seizures, liver and kidney damage, and even death if ingested due to the presence of the toxic compound colchicine. Proper identification is key to prevent accidental pet poisoning.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      0-6 inches (15-20 cm)

    • Spread

      0-6 inches (15-20 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental value: Crocus ligusticus, commonly known as saffron crocus, adds aesthetic appeal to gardens and landscapes with its vibrant flowers.
    • Early flowering: The saffron crocus typically blooms in autumn, providing color and visual interest in the garden when many other plants are fading.
    • Pollinator attraction: The flowers attract bees and other pollinators, which are crucial for the health of ecosystems and the pollination of other plants.
    • Culinary uses: The saffron crocus is cultivated for its stigmas, which are dried and used as the spice saffron in various cuisines around the world.
    • Economic value: As the source of saffron, one of the most expensive spices by weight, it has significant economic importance for growers.
    • Low maintenance: This plant is often considered easy to grow and does not require extensive care, making it suitable for novice gardeners.
    • Drought tolerance: Once established, the saffron crocus is quite drought-tolerant, which makes it suitable for xeriscaping and water-efficient gardening.
    • Perennial growth: As a perennial, it can provide years of enjoyment with proper care, since it comes back each year after dormancy.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Crocus ligusticus, commonly known as saffron, can be used as a natural fabric dye, providing a range of hues from soft yellows to deep oranges depending on the concentration.
    • In historical cooking, the stigmas of the saffron crocus were added to impart a rich golden color to cheeses and liquors.
    • This plant has been traditionally used in fresco painting to achieve a yellow color when mixed with other pigments.
    • In perfumery, saffron is used as a base note due to its earthy and hay-like aroma, which imparts depth and warmth to fragrances.
    • Gardeners plant Crocus ligusticus bulbs to attract pollinators such as bees early in the spring as they are among the first flowers to bloom.
    • Saffron has been used in calligraphy as a component of golden-hued inks, appreciated for its colorfast and lustrous qualities.
    • In the art of bookbinding, saffron stigmas have been used historically to color the edges of special manuscripts and books.
    • The threads of saffron crocus may be used in artisanal glassmaking to achieve yellow to gold-colored glass pieces through the infusion of its pigment.
    • Florists utilize the saffron crocus in floral arrangements, particularly in autumn-themed decorations for their vibrant color.
    • In some cultural ceremonies, saffron crocus petals are strewn over spaces to denote sacredness, abundance, and welcome.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Crocus is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Crocus is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Hope: As one of the first flowers to bloom in early spring, the Crocus often symbolizes hope and the promise of new beginnings.
    • Youthful Gladness: The Crocus's bright appearance and early arrival make it a symbol of youthful joy and glee.
    • Cheerfulness: The vibrant colors of the Crocus spread cheerfulness, especially after a long winter, representing the joy and optimism of nature's rejuvenation.
    • Attachment: Giving someone a Crocus can signify a deep attachment or affection, as it blooms in challenging conditions, showing resilience and dedication.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Italian crocus should be watered moderately during its growth period, usually in the fall, ensuring that the soil is kept moist but not soggy. The amount of water this plant typically requires is about an inch per week, either from rainfall or manual watering. Watering frequency should be reduced after the blooms have faded and the leaves begin to yellow, signaling the plant is entering dormancy. During dormancy, watering should be limited to prevent the bulbs from rotting. It's important to provide about a gallon of water every two weeks, adjusting for rainfall, to maintain the right moisture level without overwatering.

  • sunLight

    Italian crocus thrives in full sun to partial shade. The best spot for the plant is in an area where it can receive at least 3 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily, but it can also perform well in lightly shaded areas. Avoid placing them in deeply shaded spots, as this can impede their growth and flowering.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Italian crocus prefers a temperate climate with ideal temperature conditions ranging from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive minimum temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for growth in cooler climates. Avoid exposing the bulbs to temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, as it may adversely affect their blooming and dormancy cycles.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning of Italian crocus is minimal, primarily focused on the removal of spent flowers and yellowing foliage after blooming to maintain a tidy appearance and prevent the plant from expending energy on seed production. Pruning should be done once flowering has ceased, usually in late fall or early winter. It is not necessary to prune this plant regularly or extensively.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Italian Crocus prefers well-draining soil with a mix of sand or grit, peat, and loam; it thrives in slightly alkaline to neutral pH, ideally between 6.5 to 7.5.

  • plantRepotting

    Italian Crocus bulbs should be lifted and divided every 3 to 5 years to prevent overcrowding and to maintain vigor.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Italian Crocus does well in average outdoor humidity conditions and does not require specific humidity levels for optimal growth.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Italian Crocus near bright window; ensure soil drainage.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Italian Crocus in sunlight with well-draining soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Crocus ligusticus, commonly known as Ligurian Crocus, begins its life cycle as a corm, a bulb-like storage organ that lies dormant during the summer. After a period of dormancy, as temperatures cool and moisture increases in autumn, the corm sprouts, developing roots and a flowering shoot that emerges from the soil. The plant flowers in the fall, typically showcasing purple, lilac, or white blossoms that attract pollinators for reproduction. Following pollination, the flowers produce seed capsules that eventually mature and release seeds into the surrounding environment. Afterwards, the above-ground foliage dies back, and the corm enters a period of dormancy again; during this time, it survives off the nutrients stored within. This cycle repeats annually, with the corm enlarging and sometimes producing offsets, leading to the spread of the plant.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • For Crocus ligusticus, also known as Ligurian Crocus, the most popular method of propagation is through corm division. This is typically done in the summer months after the foliage has died back and the plant has gone dormant. Gardeners should carefully dig up the corms, which are swollen underground stems that store energy, and gently separate them by hand, ensuring that each division has at least one growth point. These individual corms can then be replanted at a depth of about 3 to 4 inches (approximately 7.5 to 10 centimeters) in well-drained soil with good sunlight exposure. By following this simple method, the newly planted corms should develop into mature, flowering plants come the next spring.