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A tropical substitute for Crocus

June 13, 2010

In a previous blog I discussed tropical substitutes for tulips. Another plant many settlers miss from European gardens is Crocus. A lovely substitute in Thai gardens would be Zephyranthes (Amaryllidaceae) from South America. Like so many other bulbs of the Amaryllidaceae family, Zephyranthes can stand a seasonally wet and dry climate. It is therefore perfect for the Chiang Mai monsoon gardens. 

The neat fact with this genus is that it flowers frequently if you keep the plants moist most of the time, but let them dry out at intervals for a week or so. Like with Crocus, you can dig up a cluster of bulbs and then separate them and plant them in new places. They are particularly beautiful when growing among stones or rocks. If you want them intermixed with grasses, you have to be very careful when mowing, as their leaves look like dark green fleshy grass leaves. You can buy numerous species with a range of colours at the Chiang Mai Khamtieng flower market.

Eric Danell

Zephyranthes citrina and Z. grandiflora are two of the four Zephyranthes species growing at Dokmai Garden.

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