Growing saffron involves planting and harvesting saffron crocus corms, which produce purple flowers with red-orange stigmas also known as saffron threads. Each flower produces just three stigmas.
- Plant the corms
Choose a location that has full sun and adequate drainage. In the late summer, plant the corms 4 inches deep and 4 inches apart from one another. The crocuses usually bloom six to eight weeks after planting, although some do not bloom until the following spring.
- Harvest the saffron
The crocus blooms are open for about three weeks. Harvest on the morning of a sunny day while the flowers are still fresh. Pull off the stigmas, and lay them on a paper towel in a warm location. Allow the threads to dry, and store them in a container.
- Over-winter the corms
Leave the corms in the ground if you live in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 10. In colder zones, dig out the corms, place them in a container, and cover with sand or peat moss. Keep the container in a location that has a temperature of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and replant the corms in the spring. Corms continue to produce for up to six years, and divide old corms into multiple bulbs for further production.