Saffron
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Mary Smithdorf
Posted on: March 18, 1999

I would like to know how difficult it would be to successfully grow saffron crocuses in my area. I live deep in the chinook belt of Alberta, Canada. I had planned to grow the bulbs in a large patio pot and move the pot into my garage during the winter. I keep the temperature in the garage at around 5o degrees Fahrenheit. I have heard though, that it is very difficult to get these bulbs to flower. I use a lot of saffron in my baking at Christmas and being able to grow my own would save me not only money, but also time, as saffron can be difficult to find.

Saffron is hardy in zones 6 to 8. I am not sure what the zone of your area is, but Alberta contains zones 1 to 4 only and I doubt that the chinook area is warm enough for it as an outdoor plant. Growing it in a container that you overwinter indoors is a good idea, but keeping it cooler than 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) would more likely give it the required winter rest. Try for 5 degrees Celsius. In the summer give the bulbs the sunniest spot you can find - it will be hard to make them think they are in a place like Turkey!

It will take about 6 plants to get enough styles for one recipe. I guess you will have a rather full garage! Have fun!

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