Crocuses are bulbous plants and one of the most recognizeable, cheerful spring plants. There are about 80 species and innumerable cultivars. For the gardener they can be broken into to groups: the common ones and the rarer ones.
The common ones are available from garden centres and shops and can be easily grown in the open ground. There are many different cultivars of these, covering a wide range of colours including striped ones.
These are planted in the autumn and they flower in the spring. There is no need to dig them up every year. They can be grown in most soils and do well planted in borders or in shallow containers for both outdoors or indoors. They can also be planted in grass to naturalise.
The rarer ones are grown by alpine gardeners. These are fascinating plants but do need a bit of extra care and attention. Some can be grown on a rock garden or raised bed, but other need more cosseting and are grown in pots in the alpine house.
These are usually smaller than the more usual varieties and have a wider range of flowering times including the autumn. The so-called Autumn crocus, belongs to a different genus, namely Colchicum.