'Roseus' or "Rosa"
Tommy Crocus

"Already the slim crocus stirs the snow,
And soon yon blanched fields will bloom again."

-Oscar Wilde,


Crocus tommasianus var roseus is an heirloom variety which has been around since 1925, from the famous E. A. Bowles. Yet it has only quite recently been widely offered in the US.

Most tommy crocus varieties aren't all that different one to the next, the popular 'Barr's Purple' & 'Ruby Giant' & 'Whitewell Purple' having only small differences about them. But 'Roseus' is very distinct, regarded by some as the closest that exists to a pink crocus, though closer to a magenta cyclamen or the pale blue-violet of such autumn crocuses as C. pulchellus

Some strains of 'Roseus' in cultivation seem to have been cross-pollinated by regular purple tommies, but if you get the real deal, it'll provide a startling contrast.

RoseusThe outside of its three outer petals are silver-grey, & the outside of its three inner petals a striking violet, with shimmering glow overall.

They have a striped look on overcast days when the blooms are not fully opened. On sunny days when fully open, the six petals unfold into a star revealing their interior as almost solid violet or cyclamen-magenta, with a small white eye, & bright orange stamins.

They are cold-hardy to Zone 4 & with good winter mulching to Zone 3, but are not heat-hardy beyond Zone 8. They bloom late winter or early spring, sometimes popping right through snow; the photos here are from March.

They're somewhat drought-hardy, but regular moderate watering is best, so long as they never steep in too much wetness, lest they rot out of the ground during dormancy.

For their diminutive size, Tommy crocuses are called Elfenkrokus or Elf Crocus in Germany as elsewhere in Europe. 'Roseus' is a bit larger than wild tommies, but also slightly less strong-stemmed so more susceptible to rainy-day knock-over.

They are quite capable of naturalizing & spreading in lawns, where the possibility of their tipping is negated. They flowerearly enough to evade having their blooms mowed. They do spread better, of course, if not competing with heavy turf.


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