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Crocus Plant Harvesting:
Optimal Time and Technique

Updated: April 3, 2022

Crocus, also known as saffron, is a valuable spice used in cooking, medicine, and cosmetics. The crocus plant is native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia, but it can be cultivated in many parts of the world. Harvesting crocus requires skill, knowledge, and patience. In this article, we will discuss the optimal time and technique for crocus plant harvesting.

When to harvest crocus?

Crocus blooms in autumn, usually from October to November, depending on the climate. The best time to harvest crocus is early in the morning when the flowers are fully open. The flowers should be harvested before noon to avoid damage caused by high temperatures and wind. It is essential to harvest the flowers on the same day they bloom because they wilt quickly.

How to harvest crocus?

Harvesting crocus requires delicate handling to avoid damaging the plant and preserving the quality of the spice. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Wear gloves to protect your hands from staining.
  2. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the flower stem about 2-3 cm below the flower.
  3. Collect the flowers in a basket or container lined with paper towels or cloth to absorb moisture.
  4. Avoid touching or bruising the flowers as it can reduce their quality and aroma.

How much crocus can you harvest?

The amount of crocus you can harvest depends on several factors such as the size of your garden, climate, soil quality, and plant growth. A mature crocus plant can produce up to three flowers per season, and each flower contains three stigmas that make up saffron spice. To obtain one gram of saffron, you need to harvest about 150-200 flowers, which is equivalent to one square meter of planted area.

How do you dry crocus?

After harvesting the crocus flowers, you need to dry them to preserve their aroma, color, and flavor. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Spread the flowers on a flat surface such as a tray or a large plate.
  2. Cover them with a thin layer of paper towels or cloth.
  3. Put them in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated room away from direct sunlight.
  4. Leave them to dry for 3-5 days, depending on the humidity level.
  5. Gently stir or turn the flowers every few hours to ensure even drying.
  6. When the flowers are completely dry, store them in an airtight container away from moisture and light.


What is the best climate for crocus cultivation?

Crocus grows best in temperate climates with cool winters and hot summers, such as the Mediterranean region, Iran, and Spain.

How long does it take for crocus to bloom?

Crocus takes about six months to bloom after planting. The planting time varies depending on the climate and location.

Can you plant crocus in pots?

Yes, you can plant crocus bulbs in pots and keep them indoors or in a greenhouse. Make sure to use well-drained soil and water them regularly.

How much saffron can you get from one crocus plant?

One mature crocus plant can produce up to nine stigmas per season, which is equivalent to about 0.03-0.05 grams of saffron.

What are the health benefits of saffron?

Saffron has several health benefits such as improving mood, reducing PMS symptoms, enhancing brain function, and preventing cancer.

In conclusion, harvesting crocus requires attention to detail and proper technique to obtain high-quality saffron spice. By following the guidelines mentioned above, you can harvest your crocus plants successfully and enjoy the aromatic and flavorful saffron in your cooking and daily life.