Saffron Cultivation

Appropriate climate for saffron cultivation: Saffron is a tropical plant which grows well in areas with moderate climates, which have hot, dry and sunny summers, and mild autumn and winter. It should be noted that this issue may not applies to all circumstances because the plant is likely to adapt to the environment, as if saffron cultivation has given satisfactory results in “Hamedan” city, which is one of the cold cities in Iran.
The saffron bulb is not active in summer, its awakening and active period is from October through May, and by beginning of the warm season its leaves become yellow and dries, and the bulbs drops, so warm and dry areas are an appropriate place to cultivate saffron.



Soil type
Saffron does not grow in saline, clay or sandy soils, but the best soil for saffron to grow in is clay - sandy soil that has a small amount of lime, the soil PH should be between 7 to 8, and also it should be fertile and sweet, and clean from the weeds. In addition, this plant should be sowed in a land that hadn’t been cultivated saffron for few years.


Quantity and type of fertilizer
This plant requires lots of nutrients. Fresh animal manure fertilizer should be avoided and use only rotted manure. Generally, per hectare (2.47105 acres) of saffron land, needs 30 to 50 tons of rotted manure with 200 kg of chemical fertilizer, such as phosphorus and potash. Consumption of 100 kg of urea fertilizer plus 10 to 15 tons of animal fertilizer for once in three years can be considered as the best offer for saffron farmers.

Planting operation
Providing land: usually, the land devoted to cultivating saffron is about 8 to 10 years old. In the early spring, after the rain has stopped, the land is re-plowed at a roughly one-week intervals and then the rotted animal manure is given to the ground with a quantity of dirt mixed with ash and by shredder they break the clods and abandon weeds until planting time. The land should be watered a few days before planting and plow again for the third time and after crushing the clods, the farm land will be divided. The land should be in a sunny place away from the shade of trees and free of pebbles and root weeds.

Planting time
From August to October, saffron can be cultivated. After planting, the saffron bulb remain in the field for 4 to 7 years, and in some areas, remains and produces for up to 10 years, and therefore does not require re-planting in the following years.

Amount and type of bulb
The bulbs should be coarse, healthy, non-ulcerous, juicy and free from any type of illness, and their age should not exceed 7 years, and remove the extra skin and Basal Plate (which has the roots attached) of each bulb. The amount of saffron bulbs necessary for planting per hectare (2.47105 acres) is 2 tons. If the crocus bulbs are not brought out in the seventh year, the plant is weakened and the bulbs become hollow and disappear completely after one or two years. In the seventh year, the amount of crocus bulbs that can be harvested from the earth is five times the amount cultivated in the first year.


After planting bulbs on the ground, the farm should be watered immediately, it can be done several days after planting, if the land had been watered before that. Saffron is a plant that is resistant to dehydration and the first watering of the fall must be done 15 days before the flower stems come out. If watering done sooner than October, then leaves appear first and then the flowers appear, and in this case, the flowers will be picked up hardly and the flowers may remain between the leaves and they will be destroyed. After planting crocus bulbs until harvesting, the farm should be watered just once, because saffron belongs to dry areas, so it does not require lots of water. But if the land get watered several time after harvesting, during the winter, it helps to grow the bulbs.

Harvesting Saffron
Saffron farm will not produce a significant amount in the first year, and only a few bulbs that are coarse and have enough saved nutrient produce crops. Usually in early November, purple flowers appear on the field, and as soon as the first flower appears, the harvest begins and lasts for almost three weeks. When the flowers appear, the field of saffron is fragrant and beautifully purple, and one of the most beautiful natural landscapes can be seen when the field of saffron is sown because at the beginning of the cold season and the fall when there are no flower around the desserts, saffron blossom .

Torbat-e-Heidarie is the main city in Iran where saffron is cultivated

Saffron flower ready for harvest