Plant Crocuses in Your Lawn in Fall for Spring Flowers

I love my lawn in late winter when the crocuses I've planted begin to bloom. I love seeing them, and so do the bees.

For several years, I’ve planted crocuses in my back lawn. These small flowers pop up in late February and bloom for almost a month.

They’re a beautiful sight, especially when they open on sunny days. Sometimes, bees show up around them hungry after winter. Unfortunately, crocuses tend to close up on cloudy days. But even after they get snowed on, they always open back up when the sun comes out. I look forward to their return every year.

What Are Crocuses?

Crocuses are spring flowers that come back every year. Individual flowers may last from a few days to a week. Planted in large masses, they’ll come up at different times, so you may have crocuses blooming for a month or longer.

When Should You Plant Crocus Bulbs?

Generally, the best time to plant crus bulbs is in the fall. In my garden, in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone 6a, I target Halloween as the time to plant most bulbs, including crocuses (which are technically considered “corms”). By then, nighttime temperatures are between 40 and 50 degrees.

The Best Crocus To Plant in Your Lawn

Crocus Flowers On The Lawn in a garden in the morning sunshineeyewave/Getty Images

There are many types, including fall-blooming crocuses. But the best crocuses to plant are called “tommies,” a shortened version of their botanical name Crocus tommasinianus. Hardy in Zones 4 through 8, their corms are smaller than those of the larger hybrid crocuses.

Some of my favorite varieties of tommies include:

  • Barr’s Purple: Features medium dark violet petals.
  • Ruby Giant: Also has dark violet petals.
  • Lilac Beauty: Lighter purple petals.

All have grown well in my lawn for the past 12 years or longer.

How To Plant Crocus Bulbs in Your Lawn

Tools and materials

When planting crocuses or any other bulbs, it’s important to protect your hands and knees.

  1. If it’s been dry, water your lawn a few days. This will make it easier to plant the bulbs.
  2. Decide where to plant the bulbs. For a bigger impact display, choose a concentrated area.
  3. For each corm, drill a hole about four inches deep. Drop a corm in the hole and cover over with soil.
  4. If using a rockery trowel, shove it in the ground, pull back on the handle to expose the hole, then drop it in the corm. Remove the trowel and the soil should fill in the hole.

Crocuses in a lawn will look more natural if you plant them randomly instead of in rows.

How To Care for Lawn Crocuses

I’ve enjoyed crocuses blooming in my back lawn for many years, but I didn’t plant them all at once. I added several hundred each year for several years. I’ve noticed they’re now increasing in number!

Here are my tips for caring for your crocuses:

  • In spring, wait as long as possible to mow your lawn for the first time. This lets the crocus foliage grow and the corms to replenish for the next season. Once the foliage turns yellow, you can mow.
  • Don’t overwater the lawn during the summer. This could cause the corms to rot.
  • Don’t use herbicides on your lawn. Herbicides will kill the crocuses! You’ll likely have a few other weeds in your lawn, but it’s worth it for the crocus blooms in late winter and early spring.
  • Watch out for squirrels and chipmunks. They like to dig up and eat crocus corms. While I see evidence of digging in my lawn, I know I’ve planted so many crocuses over the years they’ll never eat them all.

Are There Other Bulbs You Can Plant in a Lawn?

Yes. Many bulbs can be planted in a lawn.

Keep in mind you shouldn’t mow the foliage until it dies back naturally. That’s why I don’t plant daffodils in my lawn— their foliage lasts quite a while.

I’m experimenting with a small flower called Glory of the Snow, Chionodoxa sp. These bulbs are small like crocus corms, so they’re just as easy to plant. They also usually bloom after crocuses so I get a second show of lawn flowers, usually in time for Easter.

Carol J. Michel
Carol J. Michel is an award-winning author of several books including five gardening humor books and one children's book. As the holder of degrees from Purdue University in both horticulture and computer technology, she spent over three decades making a living in healthcare IT while making a life in her garden. She started writing about gardening on her blog called May Dreams Gardens which lead to numerous magazine articles, her books, and a podcast called The Gardenangelists. She was recently named a GardenComm Fellow by Garden Communicators International.