Close up of Gamila with saffron strands in palm

Many of you who have been growing your saffron for several years now are asking, 'When should I lift?'.

This question has three possible answers. It depends on:

  • initially how closely you planted them together
  • the climate, and 
  • your dedication.

From a commercial perspective we lift our corms every 4 years. Well what we actually do is lift a quarter every year so the job doesn't become unmanageable. We do this for several reasons.

  1. To reduce congestion and disease problems that can rip through corms if they congested
  2. To look at them, grade and size them, talk to them nicely, give them some general TLC
  3. So we have healthy, perfect corms to sell to you.

Why should you lift your corms?


The main reason you will need to lift relates to congestion and disease. If you planted 10 corms in a small pot, you might want to lift them after only one or two years but if you planted 10 corms over a 1.5m garden bed, you might decide to leave them until year 3, 4 or even 5.

Liz the dog next to the saffron corms planted on Gamila's farm

Image description: Saffron corms planted on the farm have enough space to be lifted every 4 years.


Do you live in an area with high rainfall or humidity? If yes, maybe you want to lift after the first year or two, and check to see if you are getting rot issues due to poor drainage.

Or you might be an eager beaver and can't cope with the suspense of not knowing what they are doing underground, maybe you lift in the first year!

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to lift your saffron corms, but no rules.

Timing is probably more relevant and important. For us here in North East Victoria, our bulbs die down in late September, however they still have viable roots until December, which is why we don't dispatch our corm orders until the new year. With that in mind, we don't start seriously lifting our saffron corms, until late December. This gives the bulbs time to fully settle into their dormant state. We then lift through until the end of January, if it takes that long. We clean, grade and size them, and they are then ready to go back into the ground before the second week in February.

I hope that helps you decide if/when you should lift your saffron corms. Happy digging and if you decide you need extra corms to supplement the ones you already have, remember you can always order more saffron corms here.