Saffron-How to Grow It

Get a jump start and plant Saffron (corms) in the summer!  Corms can be grown indoors or out, you can do either (or both)!

Saffron comes from the saffron crocus corm (Crocus Sativus), which is an autumn blooming crocus. The spice is the red stigmas of the crocus flower and each flower will only produce three stigmas. Each corm will produce three to four flowers.  As the saying goes, a little goes a long way. However, they will multiply like crazy!

Plant crocus bulbs now for blooms in the fall or in the winter.  If you plant them late after summer dormancy, they may not flower until next fall. You will see foliage through the spring, which will eventually die back (never cut the plant back), 6 weeks of late summer heat and light watering in well drained soil will make the flowers return every fall. Make sure the soil and container you choose are  well draining or the corms will rot. They need light and can tolerate cold weather. If you live in an area where it is 14 degrees or below, bring them indoors.

If you want to plant outdoors, use a grow bag or container, and plant 3-5 inches deep and 4-5 inches apart. Plant points facing up!

Want to plant indoors instead?  You will need 4-6 hours of sunlight a day and fairly cold room...lightly water the bulbs every other day. Plant point up in a 6 inch planter with one inch of fine gravel at the bottom with the rest filled with well draining soil.

To harvest the saffron spice, clip the three orange stigmas from each blossom as they open and dry them before storage.

We cooked with saffron over the weekend (that's saffron in hot water)

One of our favorite recipes with saffron is potato salad (courtesy of, we modified a bit):

  • 3/4 lb. fingerling potatoes
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pinch of saffron threads
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions: In a medium skillet, combine the fingerling potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, saffron, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add 2 cups of water to cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Discard the garlic.

In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the lemon juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and serve right away.

Questions?  Email us!



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