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The saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) is grown for its beautiful flowers, which bloom in the fall, not the spring like most crocuses varieties. It also is grown for its three red stigmas which are harvested, dried and used as a spice in cooking. Saffron corms grow and produce flowers within six weeks after planting in the fall. If left in the ground through the winter and spring, they will self multiply. You can then dig them up -- or harvest them -- in the summer, divide and replant. However, for those corms you don't plant right away or plan to give away, store them in a safe place in the meantime.
Dig around your saffron crocus plants with a shovel or spade and gently lift them out of the soil. Corms are typically planted 2 inches deep, but dig a couple inches deeper than this to make sure you clear the corms without damaging them.
Brush off the soil and examine the corms for any signs of disease, damage or insect damage. Throw out corms that do not look healthy.
Pull apart smaller corms growing on the main parent corms to store and plant separately. Throw out the main parent corm if it does not look healthy, but keep the smaller corms as long as they look to be in good health.
Dust the corms with a fungicide, available in nursery or garden centres. Then, lay them on a tray, such as a baking tray, and dry in area that is partly shady for one to two days to dry out. You can also dry them indoors in a dry area such as your ktichen countertop.
Gather the corms and put them in an open container or box. Store in a cool, dry location like your garage or basement to be planted as soon as possible. If you are growing saffron corms indoors or in hydroponics, store them for at least two months to simulate dormancy before replanting.
- Maren Caruso/Digital Vision/Getty Images