saffron bulbs propagation + fertilizer advices

saffron bulbs propagation occurs every year and after saffron harvesting process. imagine you planted 10 tons of saffron bulbs for the first year, probably in the second year you will have more than 20 tons bulbs and in the third year you will have more than 30 tons.

look at to this information that collected from 55 saffron farm in Iran.

  • saffron planting year: 10 tons
  • first year: 15 tons
  • second year: 20 tons
  • third year: 30 tons (highest saffron producing start)
  • forth year: 40 tons
  • fifth year: 45 tons
  • sixth and seventh year: 55-60 tons (time to replacement saffron bulbs)

do you know what happening?

saffron bulbs propagation

saffron bulbs propagation

let’s check the process of saffron bulbs propagation. each of saffron bulbs that we planting can produce saffron if be more than 8 grams and each bulbs after producing saffron can propagative and produce 1-3 new or daughter bulbs.

so we have 2 main factor in this case. the time and process of saffron bulbs propagation.

saffron bulbs propagation exactly start after harvesting saffron and it takes about 1 to 2 months. first the initial bulb divided to 2-3 new saffron bulbs that are very small and lightweight (1.5 -4 g) and then step by step disappears. so after 2 month of saffron harvesting we will have large amounts of saffron bulbs that are small and need to be nutrition.

this process start with decomposing initial bulbs and creating new one. mother saffron bulb feed and protect girl bulbs and step by step disappeared and after 2 month we will not see any of initial bulbs.

How quickly do saffron bulbs multiply?

each of bulbs that be more than 12g can be propagation and create 1-4 saffron bulbs. so the rate of multiply depend on weight and nutrition of bulbs and done once a year.

Nutrition of saffron bulbs

imagine the process of propagation is ended and you have 3 saffron bulbs with average weight 5 grams. as we said the minimum weight for producing saffron is 8 grams, so this new bulbs are not good for us. what we can do with them?

we must do something on bulbs to get bigger and can produce saffron in the next year.


the first thing is saffron irrigation, water saffron farm can help to new bulbs growth and get bigger. we can do this 3 or 4 time in the last month of fall or during winter.


fertilization is one of the most important thing can we do for increases of bulbs power and ultimately saffron product. this instructions is based on our experiences of multiple saffron farm management. examine it and customize it for your farm.

the first step do immediately after saffron harvesting and accompanied with irrigation of saffron farm. in this step we use a combination of N, Micro nutrients, Chelating fertilizer and Iron.

depend on your location and your customers need, you can use variety of brands. we prefer to use of natural fertilizer such as seaweed fertilizer or animal manures. also Humic acid is a good chelator for increase absorption of nutrients in saffron farms.

tip: just and just use of rotten animal manure and don’t use the fresh animal manner. fresh animal manure can bring infectious to our farm and we will face ticks, fungi and weeds.

saffron bulbs propagation

More saffron bulbs or larger?

we have 2 choice;

  1. more and lightweight bulbs
  2. less and heavy bulbs

the best choice is the second one. many of lightweight bubs haven’t any profit for us and can’t produce saffron, while the big ones can produce saffron. remember that if we want to have more saffron we should have lots of bulbs that be more than 12g. so, what can we do to have good bulbs propagation?

Use cow manure

high nitrogen concentration in fertilizers can stimulate bulbs propagative and decrease their weight. cow manure have balanced amount of nitrogen and are the best choice for saffron farms.

also read saffron planting guide.

Fertilizer program for a saffron farm

every saffron farm needs a customized fertilizer program and this program isn’t appropriate for all farms.

saffron fertilizing program

saffron fertilizing program

as you see in the program the first step have more nitrogen to stimulating vegetative growth of saffron leaves. if we have long saffron leaves the Fertilization and foliar application will be more effective.

also you see amino acid fertilizers in all steps. amino acid fertilizer other than it’s benefit for saffron production can increase element absorption from the soil and this can increase the efficiency of fertilization. also using of Iron can increase the quality of stigma and its crocin rate.

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