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Author Topic: Saffron  (Read 3868 times)


  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Fife
    • North Fife Blog
« on: September 03, 2014, 10:14:40 pm »
Is the purple Autumn Crocus actual Saffron???  :thinking: Don't know who said so but maybe it's true??


  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Saffron
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2014, 12:07:50 am »
I think not. The saffron autumn crocus requires a subtropical climate as opposed to 'our autumn crocus' that is high in colchicine - not so good if eaten unless your treating gout. Or I understand can be used to create polyploid plants.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Saffron
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2014, 10:37:33 am »

But saffron production was a major industry in Saffron Walden, and that's definitely not sub-tropical  :D
Best to use the right stuff though.

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  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Saffron
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2014, 03:39:21 pm »
Caused me to do some interesting reading.. thrives in mediterranean climates but can survive  very cold winters and 90% global production now from Iran....

Oh, and I grew bananas in Surrey once.. but not recommended for good cropping ;D

(I failed with naseberries, breadfruit and lychees lthugh a friend was successful with coffee)


  • Joined Nov 2013
Re: Saffron
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2014, 09:39:05 pm »
Hiya. Im in ireland nd I had saffron crocus. Gotta say only got 1 flower in 4 years,  nd that got lost 'twen garden nd kitchen!! Don't ask me how :rant:
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  • Joined Jun 2012
Re: Saffron
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2014, 10:21:17 pm »
I bought some bulbs from Geetee bulbs and had a small crop of saffron - grew fairly well here in NE Scotland. Don't think the bulbs survived the winter  - I think it was too wet here rather than too cold. Worth a try if you're further south.

Can recommend Geetee bulbs - you can buy bulk bulbs at good prices, and the bulbs seem to be good quality. Had a great display of daffs and tulips this year from their bulbs.



  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Fife
    • North Fife Blog
Re: Saffron
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2014, 12:26:39 pm »
Thank you, Sue and everyone else. Will look into the bulbs. The one we have in lovely purple bloom at the moment does have no foliage at all so can't be the right stuff I think (according to google images - but maybe it was the ducks treading it to death) although the stamen look the perfect colour.
Maybe the real saffron bulbs would do better in a pot and moved indoors over the winter?


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Saffron
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2014, 12:00:33 am »
I've just read an article on growing saffron in Norfolk - think it's in Country Living this month - so it can be grown commercially under the right conditions in the UK. They grow it in two acres of land so it can stay out if you're cold and dry.


  • Joined Dec 2013
    • Axe Head Farm
    • Facebook
Re: Saffron
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2016, 04:12:02 pm »


  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Saffron
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2016, 05:27:37 pm »
The monks in monasteries used to grow it in Italy, but it went out of fashion so they stopped growing it. The most recent of the monks in this particular monastery the newest of the friars, who came from France, planted lavender instead to remind him of home. Sorry a bit off topic, it is grown in the middle east now, but there was a time when it was very fashionable to grow, of course it was only fashionable to grow because of the wealth it brought in :) I understand however that if you want to make enough of it for it to be worthwhile you have to grow a huge area of the stuff, as each plant only produces a small amount. Also one point to note is that saffron is quite strong, you can use it in breadmaking but use sparingly as it has quite a strong flavor.
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Saffron
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2016, 12:13:23 am »
I think not. The saffron autumn crocus requires a subtropical climate as opposed to 'our autumn crocus' that is high in colchicine - not so good if eaten unless your treating gout. Or I understand can be used to create polyploid plants.

I think the wild Turkish crocus is the best known saffron bulb it grows there in th wild as a weed .
You can easily propagate a bulb by carefully  using a scalpel , scooping  ut the little pad that the roots come out of , then dipping it in rooting hormone compound & planting in a 6 to 8 inch deep fairly free draining ground such as a mix of peat a little well rotted manure & sharp sand to a depth of five times as deep as the bulb is tall. Push in a seed label by each bulb so you know if it is a wed or a bulb coming through.
 By the end of the year you should have loads of match head sized bulbils , that you can either leave for another year to develop bigger for easier handling or  carefully take off to replant
You can do the same with tulips .

 If you grow the crocus in high raised beds , made say from .... mortared block work , engineering bricks  , cast concrete , railway sleepers etc at a meter high and a meter wide it will save you no end of back pain and make harvesting very easy . Once the beds are constructed they should be OK for 20 or more years , save for a little watering occasionally , manuring & weeding .

 I think the bulb spacings in a high raised bed can be as little as 2 inches apart for each bulb and one inch at the sidewalls. Weeding at this height is an absolute doddle .
 If I remember the numbers rightly you need something like 150 crocus saffron bulbs for a gram ( 4500 bulbs for an ounce of saffron ) that should bring you almost £ 3,000  if you can harvest , dry , pack , store & sell it.

Currently it's more valuable than gold  ,even when you know gold is in troy ounces and saffron will be weighed in avoirdupois ounces .

 Currently 5000 crocus sativus corms (  the saffron ones with whiter flowers ) will set you back about £ 1500 .
They are harvested in autumn within hours of being ripe, they  need winter sun so You'll need open sunny aspects such as a hill side or large sun spot .  They are usually planted June to September

 Interesting site Adrian , thanks.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 12:46:02 am by cloddopper »
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting


  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Saffron
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2016, 08:58:12 am »
The Cornish have an expression "'tis dear as saffron",you can see why.



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