Saffron

General tips / questions on seeding & planting

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Gavin
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Saffron

Postby Gavin » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:12 am

All,
This is my first posting - so be gentle with me.
A year and a bit ago I planted some saffron bulbs (a special offer in KG I think) and got a reasonable crop for the first year. This year no flowers but plenty of healthy looking leaves. My question is - is this to be expected for the second year or is it likely to be like this every year? Anything I can do to improve things? I live in the cool North-West. Did anyone else plant bulbs at the same and how did yours do?

Thanks in advance,

Gavin
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oldherbaceous
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Re: Saffron

Postby oldherbaceous » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:31 am

Morning Gavin, a very warm welcome to the forum, but i'm afraid i can't help you with the saffron question.
Kind regards Old Herbaceous.

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Westi
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Re: Saffron

Postby Westi » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:10 pm

Ditto as OH Gavin but looking forward to a reply as thought these looked interesting so would like to know how long it takes to get a crop.

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peter
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Re: Saffron

Postby peter » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:04 pm

Living near to Saffron Walden I wish I could advise, but can't, so also await someone with experience.
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FelixLeiter
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Re: Saffron

Postby FelixLeiter » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:19 pm

Like many bulbs, saffron tend not to flower as well the second year as they do the first year after planting. Unfortunately, that means that they can also not flower at all, as you have experienced. Most bulbs (and corms, which is what saffron grows from) go through a cycle of increasing in size until they flower, after which they tend to split. These individuals grow larger until they in turn are large enough to flower, after which they split, and so on. The bulbs that a merchant sells are nearly always, to the best of their knowledge, of flowering size which is why there's nearly always good display the first year following planting.
You'll find that your saffron will build up again and in subsequent years flowering should fall into step.
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Gavin
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Re: Saffron

Postby Gavin » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:09 pm

Thanks for your detailed answer Felix - I'll see what happens next year - as along as I remember not to plant anything on top when the leaves die back. I assume saffron is always grown in a permanent position.
Thanks also to others for their good wishes.
Gavin
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Colin_M
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Re: Saffron

Postby Colin_M » Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:23 pm

Hi Gavin, in addition to Felix's reply, you might want to check the recommended advice for growing from year to year.

I believe in some cases, it may help to lift & replant.

The reason for saying this is that I bought a bunch of saffron corms a few years back,. The flowers were beautiful and I got (some) saffron. However in the second year, there were far fewer flowers and some corms didn't seem to sprout. By the third year, hardly any plants grew.

I suspect this was my fault, but when I asked the supplier, was told that Saffron corms are much more temperamental and fussy than standard croci and need extra care.
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Re: Saffron

Postby Gavin » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:26 pm

Thanks Colin - it is what happens in the third year that interests me. I don`t think I`ll lift them as I`ll probably forget where I put them and the leaf growth is very good. I put sand in when I planted to mimic their habitat but I can`t really do anything about the temperature.
Anyway - I`ll leave them be. I wondered if I should feed them but that might be wrong.
Gavin
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John
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Re: Saffron

Postby John » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:09 pm

Hello Gavin
Corms grow slightly differently from bulbs. I copied this from D.G. Mackean (remember him from your school days) of biology textbook fame. Amazingly his book is online!
<
In Spring, the food stored in the corm enables the terminal bud to grow rapidly and produce leaves and flowers above ground. Later in the year, food made by the leaves is sent back, not to the old corm, but to the base of the stem immediately above it. This region swells and forms a new corm on top of the old, now shrivelled, corm.
Some of the lateral buds on the old corm have also grown and produced new plants with corms.

Contractile roots The formation of one corm on top of another tends to bring the successive corms nearer and nearer to the soil surface. Adventitious roots develop from the base of the new corm. Once these have grown firmly into the soil, a region near their junction with the stem contracts and pulls the new corm down, keeping it at a constant level in the soil. Wrinkles can be seen on these contractile roots where shrinkage has taken place.
>

So the answer to your problem I think lies in doing all you can to encourage growth when the leaves are showing so that you get strong new corms for next year. Digging up and replanting is not going to help.

Hope this helps

John
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Re: Saffron

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:07 pm

Thanks for the useful info. I've grown them for the first time last year and got a bit of saffron. They flowered well and now look very grassy, so I'll see what they do this year and probably give them a good feed after they've flowered again (hopefully).
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Colin_M
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Re: Saffron

Postby Colin_M » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:30 pm

Just in case you thought use of Saffron was restricted to cooking, you might be interested in this:
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thetangoman
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Re: Saffron

Postby thetangoman » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:00 pm

I believe saffron is traditionally removed from the crocus flower , certainly the famous cornish saffron bun contains this , sadly now a very artificial colouring is used due to costs involved, although some bakeries still use the real thing thankfully.

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