Crocus korolkowii - plant of the month Feb 2015
Crocus korolkowii is a plant from central Asia, from Tajikistan through afghanistan to Pakistan, growing in open, rocky places up to 3150 mts.
Highly floriferous and beautifully scented, in cultivation C. korolkowii is the most tolerant of the central Asians; cold hardiness is no problem but a drying-off period during the summer is a requirement best met by pot or bulb-frame culture - in the open garden, a warm, sunny spot on the rock garden gives acceptable results. Said to prefer a slightly acidic, rich clayey soil but grows well for me in a normal 1:1:1 mix of Loam, Gritty sand and general purpose compost.
Numerous clones of this variable species have been named, the selections usually differing in the amount of brown on the flowers - either in the throat of the flower ( above right), on the perianth tube ( below left) or as 'speckling' on the outer perianth segments ( below right). A pleasing characteristic of most, if not all clones of C. korolkowii is that it produces a high number of blooms per corm ( reported as up to 20 by Janis Ruksans) before the numerous leaves lengthen.