Saffron Crocus source

Comments

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What a lovely color! Royal purple and gold, I'd say.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    Yes, the colors are very pretty.

  • AdrienneHew
    AdrienneHew Posts: 94 ✭✭✭

    I got these last year because I live in a desert but they never produced flowers but I don’t exactly have a green thumb. A few started to sprout again so fingers crossed.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,916 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @AdrienneHew are they in the ground or container? If in the ground can you add mulch to keep them moist and cooler? If in a container does it have a sauce on the bottom, also mulch may help keep the soil cooler?

  • AdrienneHew
    AdrienneHew Posts: 94 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    Both. I do have them under mulch, but I also have issues with roly polies, so it's a bit tricky. Do you think I need to? Saffron traditionally is grown in the desert.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,916 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @AdrienneHew not sure what happened to your comment but my research shows that crocus prefer  humus-rich and well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 8. As for roly polies you might try diatomaceous earth around the bulbs.

    Here is a link to the article I used in my research - www.sativus.com/en/saffron/the-saffron-cultivation/

  • AdrienneHew
    AdrienneHew Posts: 94 ✭✭✭

    Thanks, @Lisa K !

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    @silvertipgrizz many years ago, I was looking for an agricultural enterprise that didn’t need a lot of land to make an income from. I got interested in Saffron. Unfortunately where I lived at the time wasn’t the ideal climate. Crocus likes a Mediterranean climate, cool wet winters and hot dry summers. Plus it’s super labour intensive. I eventually went with olives. Chose a variety that would handle frosts. Did the prep, planted 140 Frantio olive trees and in the first winter we had a week of -10 frosts in a row and killed the lot. I was devastated and we never had -10 frosts again. I did learn from that, apparently that variety will handle light frost but not the pipe busting never heard of before frosts, that we had back then.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    One can understand why saffron is so expensive. Do they really have a scent? @silvertipgrizz the article says that Cleopatra liked saffron scent in her bath. Did it not dye her yellow 😉

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    I bought some last year as well. Mine came up, but no flowers as it was explained in the instructions that came with it said they would not flower the first fall after planting. I am waiting to see how many come back as my chicken decided the pot made a great dust bath or place to dig for bugs. I won’t know for sure until we cool down a bit.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,019 ✭✭✭✭

    Really pretty flowers. This would be so worth it if it would grow for me. I don't use saffron because it's so expensive.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,916 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For getting the color and a peppery taste I have read that you can use Calendula.

  • lewis.mary.e
    lewis.mary.e Posts: 225 ✭✭✭

    I ordered saffron crocus bulbs a couple of weeks ago. I'm so curious to see if they'll grow here in Minnesota.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,916 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My saffron crocus arrived last week and on Sunday I planted them! I noticed that they were starting to sprout and I am so excited! Due to creatures that like to visit my yard and dig things up, I bring them in every night (they are in a bucket) and put them out during the day.

  • monica197
    monica197 Posts: 332 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Am I right in presuming that these need to undergo a freeze - since they are a bulb?

    I would love to grow them but am thinking zone 9A is not the place? Or maybe??

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,156 ✭✭✭✭

    @silvertipgrizz They are gorgeous! Unbelievable that only the stamen are edible! Maybe the flower can be used as a dye?

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,916 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @water2world that is a great idea to see if the flowers can be used as a dye, what a beautiful color it would be!

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,156 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K I hope somebody tries it out- --cloth or for spinning.

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This came from Wikipedia.

    "Description

    A natural, golden yellow colorant obtained from the flower stigmas of the Crocus sativus plant that is native to the Middle East. Saffron was used to color the robes of emperors in ancient Persia and later, the robes of Buddhist monks in Asia. It was introduced to Europe through Spain in the 8th century and used in manuscript illumination until the 16th century. The deep yellow to orange color in saffron is primarily due to Crocetin and Crocin. The colorants are extracted by boiling the dried flowers in water. Saffron is a substantive dye that produces a strong yellow color on alum mordanted and unmordanted wool. Copper mordanting produces a greenish yellow shade. Saffron was used for manuscript illumination and for coloring prints and maps. The transparent colorant was also used as a watercolor pigment and a tint in varnishes. It is still used as a dyestuff and as a cooking spice."

    Might just be the stigmas, not the flower itself.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,635 admin

    @MaryRowe Could you offer some of your dyeing expertise here? Have you used saffron before?

    For those who can't grow saffron for use as a spice due to climate constraint, safflower makes a good alternative. It is often sold as American or Mexican saffron to differentiate it from true saffron but sometimes less-than-scrupulous marketers might try to pass safflower off as saffron.

    I tried to grow it once but it didn't survive the winter. No sign of growth the next spring. But I might try again if I am able to find some bulbs. Too late for this year, but maybe next.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey I have not used saffron for dying myself--too expensive! For a plant dye you need anywhere from half to double the weight in plant material of the fiber you want to dye, depending on the plant, the fiber, and the intensity of color you want--that's a whole lot of saffron.

    I have a friend who taught spinning, weaving and natural dye classes till she retired a few years back. One time she bit the bullet and bought enough saffron to dye small samples of wool, cotton, linen and silk so that she would have them for her reference collection, and I joined in to see the results. As I recall the saffron produced a very strong dye--she only used a bit under one-quarter weight saffron to textile. She got lovely, intense yellows and golds on all samples with alum and tin mordants, more greenish-yellows with copper and iron. She even got one amazing deep orange, I think it was on wool with chrome mordant. The unusual thing was that she got good color on all four types of cloth, especially with such a small amount of plant material--it is hard to get good color on cotton and linen with plant dyes. But the kicker was...you can get the same colors with Bidens, a wildflower of the Asteraceae family that grows abundantly around here most years, free for the gathering--it just takes a lot more flowers.

    We were only using the stamens for this experiment, that was what she bought and that is what has always been used for dye. I never heard of using the flower petals, though that would make an interesting experiment, I just bought 10 saffron bulbs to plant this fall--if Mother Nature smiles on my efforts and I get flowers, I certainly plan to try that!

    Since you mention safflower, I have grown and used that as a dye plant. (Didn't know you could use it as a spice; now I'll have to start growing it again☺️) Anyway, saffron is also a good strong dye plant, with a bit of magic in it. Simply using the plant as you would any other gives you a range of bright yellows, golds and greenish-yellows to olive. But if you pack a muslin bag with the flowers, then rinse it, squeeze, rinse again, repeat, repeat, repeat till your hands go limp....eventually you rinse the yellow pigment out and are left with a dye that gives an intense deep pink to red--on animal or plant fiber! It is one heck of a process, but an amazing color.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    .....I meant safflower, not saffron, in that last paragraph, to get the pinks and reds....darn thing won't let me edit now....

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 741 ✭✭✭✭

    Amazing

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K

    You can do either one. I considered...in ground, in raised bed, or in large tubs.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Okla Gardening video on planting crocus.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe It has been a few months since I did the research but I remember finding at least one site that said yes they do have an aroma...I'll see if I can find it and if I do will post.

    Ok, I found a few I looked at when I posted this:

    https://jm.tomahnousfarm.org/3226-what-flavor-and-smell-does-saffron-have-what-does-it.html