Fritillaria in California

Michael Mace
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 09:23:45 PDT
Jane wrote:

>> I would welcome input from any of you who have grown these bulbs in
California, especially the southern part

I tried very hard to grow a number of Fritillaria species, back when seeds
were easily available from the Robinetts and Northwest Native Seed.  The
result was almost 100% failure.  I could get some of them to sprout (others
not), but they dwindled over a couple of years, and I rarely even got any
flowers.  In particular, I tried various selections of F. glauca and F.
recurva over and over, with variations in soil mix and stratification.  Plus
a number of other species, usually concentrating on the ones with the most
unusual colors.

My experience was in contrast to many Calochortus, Allium, Bloomeria,
Brodiaea, which were easy to grow and maintain.

I did get F. pluriflora to grow and bloom for several years, in a pot filled
with heavy clay soil.  It was a pretty little thing.  But eventually it
faded out as well.

My guess is that my usual cultural practices (8-inch plastic pots, no water
from dormancy until October) let the bulbs dry out too much.  But again,
this was okay for other California bulbs, so who knows.

I will be interested to hear what other growers say, especially folks from
even drier/hotter climates than me.  Dr. Koopowitz, if you would care to
give some info on your cultural practices, I'm all ears.

San Jose, CA (zone 9, min temp 20F)

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