Autumn Crocus Crocus speciosus

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
large autumn crocus


The plant commonly known as the autumn crocus or speciosus crocus showcases a striking aesthetic that adds vibrant color to the fall landscape. Its appearance is characterized by the formation of elegant, cup-shaped flowers which display a rich, purplish-blue hue. The petals are delicate and somewhat elongated, with a slight flare at the edges, featuring pronounced veins. In the center of the flower, bright orange or sometimes yellow stamens contrast boldly against the petals, creating an eye-catching focal point. The leaves of the autumn crocus are narrow, long, and grass-like, with a dark green color that may appear almost glossy in certain lights. They provide a simple and understated backdrop to the vivid blossoms. The overall form of the plant has a neat, clump-forming habit, with the flowers typically emerging before the foliage. Toward the base, the plant springs from corms which are bulb-like storage organs that carry it through the colder months. After flowering, the foliage continues to grow for a short while before dying back as the plant enters dormancy. The autumn crocus harbors its charm in the simplicity of its structure, coupled with the intensity of its floral color — a spectacular combination that makes it a delightful addition to gardens and natural settings where its beauty can be observed up close.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Showy Crocus, Specie Crocus, Large-flowered Crocus

    • Common names

      Crocus archibaldiorum, Crocus euxinus, Crocus speciosus subsp. ilgazensis, Crocus speciosus var. ilgazensis.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant in question, commonly known as Autumn Crocus, has a degree of toxicity to humans. The entire plant contains colchicine and other alkaloids which are toxic if ingested. Symptoms of Autumn Crocus poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, kidney failure, liver damage, and respiratory distress. Ingestion of this plant can also lead to severe health complications such as multi-organ failure and can be fatal.

    • To pets

      The Autumn Crocus is toxic to pets as well as humans. If a pet ingests any part of the plant, they could suffer from colchicine and alkaloid poisoning. The symptoms of Autumn Crocus poisoning in pets are similar to those in humans and include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, kidney and liver damage, and can progress to severe complications such as seizures, multi-organ failure, and can be life-threatening. Immediate veterinary attention is required if a pet is suspected of ingesting this plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-6 inches (7.5-15 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Middle East


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental value: Crocus speciosus, commonly known as the Autumn Crocus, adds aesthetic beauty to gardens with its striking blue-violet flowers.
    • Early flowering: It blooms in late summer or early fall, providing color when many other plants have finished flowering.
    • Attracts pollinators: The flowers attract bees and other pollinating insects, which are beneficial for the garden ecosystem.
    • Low maintenance: This plant is relatively easy to care for, requiring minimal upkeep, which is ideal for gardeners of all experience levels.
    • Hardiness: Crocus speciosus is hardy in many climates, meaning it can withstand cold temperatures and does not require winter protection in many regions.
    • Naturalizing: This species can spread over time, naturalizing an area to create a larger, more impactful display each year.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Ornamental Display: Crocus speciosus, commonly known as the autumn crocus, is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens to provide a splash of color in the fall when other flowers are fading.
    • Photography Subject: The striking autumn crocus can attract photographers looking to capture the beauty of its vibrant blooms and use the photos in botanical and gardening exhibits or portfolios.
    • Educational Tool: Botany and horticulture educators may utilize autumn crocus to teach students about bulbous plant life cycles, especially how some species are adapted to bloom in the fall.
    • Floristry: The autumn crocus can be used in floral arrangements, particularly in the fall season to create unique and seasonal bouquets.
    • Seasonal Celebrations: In some cultures, the autumn crocus is incorporated into autumn festivals and celebrations due to its seasonally appropriate blooming period.
    • Natural Colorant: Historically, some crocus species' stigmas were used to make saffron dye; however, it is important to note that Crocus speciosus is not the same species used for commercial saffron (Crocus sativus).
    • Habitat Support: Planting autumn crocus can provide nectar for bees and other pollinators in the early autumn, supporting the ecosystem when other nectar sources might be scarce.
    • Craft Projects: The dried petals of autumn crocus can be used in craft projects such as pressed flower art, adding natural beauty to homemade cards or bookmarks.
    • Garden Design: Landscapers may use autumn crocus to create 'surprise' blooms in meadow plantings and naturalized areas, where their late blooming contrasts with the senescence of other plants.
    • Companion Planting: Some gardeners plant autumn crocus alongside late-season perennials and shrubs to ensure continuous garden interest throughout the growing season.

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

    • Hope: Crocuses, often blooming at the end of winter or early spring, symbolize hope and the promise of new beginnings.
    • Youthful Gladness: The flower's fresh, vibrant colors and early blooming period are associated with the cheerfulness of youth.
    • Purity: With its delicate and unblemished bloom, a crocus often represents purity and innocence.
    • Joy: The appearance of crocus flowers is a joyful sign that spring is near, symbolizing happiness and contentment.

Every 10-14 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Autumn Crocus should be watered sparingly, as it prefers well-draining soil and does not like to be waterlogged. During the growing season, water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Approximately one gallon of water every two weeks should suffice, but always check the soil moisture before watering to avoid over-watering. After the flowers have died back and the plant has entered its dormant period, reduce watering significantly and only provide water to keep the bulbs from completely drying out.

  • sunLight

    Autumn Crocus thrives best in full sun to partial shade. Ideally, the plant should receive at least six hours of sunlight each day. A spot that offers morning sun and afternoon shade would be perfect to protect the delicate blooms from the intense heat of the day.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Autumn Crocus tolerates a wide range of temperatures, however, it prefers cooler conditions. It can survive minimum temperatures down to around 35 degrees Fahrenheit, but the ideal growing temperature is between 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. It can withstand maximum temperatures up to approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will struggle if the temperature gets much hotter.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning is not typically necessary for the Autumn Crocus, as the foliage dies back naturally. However, you can remove the dead leaves and spent flowers after they have completely withered to keep the plant looking tidy. This usually occurs in late fall or early winter. There's no need for regular or severe pruning.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Autumn Crocus thrives in well-draining, rich soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH, typically around 6.0 to 8.0. A mixture of loam, sand, and compost or well-rotted manure is ideal for maintaining the right balance of moisture and nutrients.

  • plantRepotting

    Autumn Crocus bulbs should be repotted every 3-4 years or when the bulbs multiply and crowd the container. It's best to repot after the foliage dies back, during the dormant period in summer.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Autumn Crocus does not require high humidity and can thrive in average room humidity levels. It is more important to focus on soil moisture than air humidity.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light; plant in well-draining soil; keep cool during dormancy.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun to part shade; protect from winter wetness.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Crocus speciosus, commonly known as the Showy Crocus, begins its life cycle with a period of dormancy, where its corm (a bulb-like storage organ) lies inactive underground. In the late summer or early autumn, the corm sends up a shoot that develops into thin, grass-like leaves and a flowering stalk, which bears the plant's characteristic vibrant blue-violet flowers. After pollination, typically by insects, the flowers produce seed capsules that eventually open to disperse seeds. As the colder weather sets in, the above-ground foliage of the Showy Crocus dies back, and the plant goes back into dormancy, relying on the corm storing energy for the next season. Throughout the winter, the corm is in a resting phase until the temperatures increase again in the following autumn, signaling the beginning of the next growth cycle. The corm may also reproduce vegetatively by producing new smaller corms (cormlets) which can grow into new plants.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagating the autumn crocus (Crocus speciosus) is through the division of corms. Propagation time is typically in late summer after the foliage has died back or in early fall before the ground freezes. The mature corms are carefully lifted from the soil and any offsets, which are miniature corms that form at the base of the parent corm, are separated. These offsets can be replanted immediately, at a depth of around 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters), and spaced about 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) apart. The site where they are to grow should be well-draining and receive full to partial sunlight. They will typically flower the following fall, contributing to the garden's beauty with minimal effort.