Richters InfoSheet D5162  

Saffron Planting Instructions

The saffron crocus is the source of the world’s most costly spice. It takes 150,000 flowers to make one kilogram of dried saffron!

Saffron is easy to grow in the garden. It is a perennial hardy in zones 6-8. Planted in the fall, it will bear lovely lavender flowers the following autumn. It can be grown successfully in colder zones if started outdoors in the fall and then moved to a cool place indoors before winter sets in. Six plants will produce enough spice for one recipe.

Bright orange flower stigmas are dried to make the saffron spice. It takes the stigmas of 150,000 flowers to make one kilo of dried saffron.


Unpack and plant immediately.

A location sheltered from the wind with rich, well-drained soil is preferred. Add sand and compost as needed if soil is heavy or lacking in organic matter. Plant corms 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) deep and at least 15 cm (6 inches) apart. Water throughly.

Mulch well the first winter, and each year after flowering. Clean straw or dead leaves may be used as a mulch.

In zones 5 or colder, plant corms in pots and then bury the pots to the rim in the garden. Before the ground freezes solid in winter remove pots from the garden and place in a cellar, porch, or other cool location where the corms will be protected from freezing winter temperatures.


The part used for the saffron spice are the stigmas of the flowers. The stigmas (see figure) are the bright orange appendages attached to the centre of the flower. There are three stigmas to each flower. Dry stigmas in an airy spot away fron direct sunlight. When the stigmas crumble easily when crushed, they are adequately dried for storage. Store in a cool, dark place in an airtight container.


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D5162   ©2003 Otto Richter and Sons Limited


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