How To Grow Saffron In South Africa

How To Grow Saffron In South Africa

Learn more about how to grow saffron in South Africa;

What is Saffron?

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”. The vivid crimson stigma and styles, called threads, are collected and dried for use mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in food. Saffron has long been the world’s costliest spice by weight. 

How long does it take to grow saffron?

While the flower itself is small, if you’re growing saffron, it’s for the even smaller three stigmas that lie in its center.

Common Name(s)Saffron crocus
Days to Harvest6-8 weeks
LightFull sun
Water:Moderate water during production; no water during dormancy
SoilWell-drained sandy to loamy soil

Is saffron farming profitable in South Africa?

A Northern Cape farmer has tested saffron production in South Africa over recent years, which he believes could yield local producers R200,000 per kilogram. But it takes some 150,000 crocus sativus flowers to yield one kilogram, Netwerk24 reports.

Is saffron difficult to grow?

Saffron crocuses are not a difficult crop to grow. They’re propagated from corms, a fleshy bulblike root that’s planted in summer for an autumn harvest. You need to have reasonably warm and dry summers and autumns, although a little rain is fine.

Is it profitable to grow and sell saffron?

As a niche, “shoulder-season” crop that can be grown after the fall harvest, and with a high resale value—saffron fetches as much as $29,000 per kilogram (roughly $13,000 per pound)—it could be a boon for small farmers looking for another source of revenue.

How many times a year can you harvest saffron?

Plant saffron bulbs in a sunny, well-drained location in fall; they will not bloom until the following fall but will then come back and bloom each season for 5-6 years. The maximum yield of spice will be in their second year.

Can I grow saffron in South Africa?

The farming of saffron is also ideally suited to the South African climate – which, in the last few years, has gone through a harsh drought – as it requires much less water compared to many of the large traditional crops in South Africa,” adds Liebenberg.

How much saffron do you get from one plant?

deep and at least 6 inches (15 cm.) apart. About 50 to 60 saffron flowers will produce about 1 tablespoon (15 mL.)