No paella for you!...

09 May, 2013

I have finally given up hope that my saffron will flower this year.

Last year my 50 saffron bulbs produced 36 lovely saffron stamens, which I diligently dried and used over the year, mainly in paella. Yum.

I grow my saffron bulbs in pots. I do this because my soil is clay and I'm worried about them becoming waterlogged and dying, which saffron bulbs are prone to do. They like well drained soil, which mine is not.

At the end of the growing season (around mid-winter from memory, these being autumn flowering bulbs) I upended the pots and, like rooting around for potatoes, I picked out each and every saffron bulb I could find. Some were tiny, but many were of a decent size. I would guess I went from 50 to around 100 bulbs, probably 60 of these were a good size and the rest were probably too small to flower in their first year.

I kept these bulbs in an old plastic pot (I'm a lazy gardener, ok) until around Feb this year, when I then replanted them in new pots with new potting mix.

They have sent up lots of lovely green spindly leaves, but no flowers.

Last year they flowered in mid-April. I had hoped that they were simply later than usual this year, but now I think I can't cling to that hope any longer.

Just in case you wanted to see what a saffron flower looks like, here's one from last year.

Hopefully next year will be better. I think I will leave them in the pots (see I told you; lazy gardener) and see if they do better next year without being re-potted. But is there anything else I am missing? Do saffron bulbs need chilling?

Pity it takes another 12 months before I can give it another go, though.


  1. Shame paella is amazing.

    Well when my clients want bulbs to re-flower the next year I encourage them to use a liquid food ie Thrive. Something that is a complete food and liquid as the bulb dies down as that is when it is storing up energy to do it all again the following year. I can't hurt to liquid feed them even while they are still in the green.

    Hmm hadn't thought about growing my own saffron, you are full of great ideas bek

    1. Excellent. I will give them a good feed! I can't claim credit for the idea of homegrown saffron, but I highly endorse it. I got my bulbs from garden express but I think there are other places selling them now too.