Fritillaria imperialis

Jim McKenney
Tue, 15 Jul 2008 13:18:54 PDT
Good luck with that plan, Jim, and be sure to let us know how it turns out. 

I’ve had my share of bad experiences with poorly handled bulbs of
Fritillaria imperialis over the years. I’ve received dead bulbs, crushed
bulbs, dry mummified bulbs – what a bother. Requests for replacement bulbs
from some of these dealers were promptly fulfilled with more dead, crushed
or mummified bulbs. One supplier simply ignored my plight after the first
replacement – evidently they thought their responsibility was to supply a
replacement, alive or dead. 

However, there is one supplier who has never let me down: the John Scheepers
Co. Over the years (I’ve been buying from them on and off for close to
fifty years) I have occasionally received a bad bulb, but requests for
replacements were promptly honored with live bulbs. The Fritillaria
imperialis they sent in the fall of 2006 were packed in small cardboard
boxes and cushioned with excelsior. The bulbs were heavy, blemish free and
had incipient roots; they went on to grow and bloom. What more can you ask?

What I’m trying to say is that my experience suggests that it isn’t
necessary to get bulbs in August. Even if I could get freshly dug bulbs now,
I certainly don’t think it would be a good idea to plant a bulb of this
species into the damp, hot soil of a Maryland summer. Missouri can't be much

North Europeans are in a hurry to plant these bulbs in August because their
fall and early winter are apt to be dull, wet and cold: hardly good weather
to be out digging and hardly good conditions for plants trying to get rooted
before the onset of winter.  

In my experience, properly stored bulbs from a supplier who knows what he is
doing give impeccable first year results. The rest is up to you. 

I’m posting this response to both the PBS forum and Alpine-L.  

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where we just had an improbably late and successful lily show.  
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society


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