Jane McGary
Fri, 01 Apr 2011 17:33:50 PDT
Kathleen asked,
>Here's a general fritillary question: I planted a bulb of what I 
>think is Fritillaria persica years ago, have lost the label, and 
>have never had it bloom. It's on a sunny slope in my garden, above 
>the winter-soggy soil about a foot.
>This bulb had a hard life in my yard: the first year it came up the 
>deer ate it down. They left it alone the next year, when it put up 
>two shoots, and both flopped over when they were about 1 ft tall. 
>The slugs found one of the shoots and nibbled the side, and the top 
>with the leaves broke off.
>This year it sprouted again, two shoots, and these have now flopped over.
>Among the frit-experts in the list, can you tell me what is going on 
>with the floppy over?
>Does this bulb needs to be drier (which translates to me moving it 
>higher up) or what?

I've been growing F. persica (commercial form) in the open garden in 
the Cascade foothills (inland from where Kathleen lives on the 
somewhat wetter coast) for many years and have not seen this happen. 
I have other forms, from seed, in the bulb house, where they do well. 
In nature this species does grow on often steep slopes and rocky 
ledges, and in my country garden the soil is rocky and well drained 
despite 45-50 inches of rain a year. If the stems are flopping and 
you can't see any actual damage, above or below ground, they may be 
infected with a disease that attacks the stems at ground level. 
Keeping them dry at flowering time is going to be impossible on the 
Washington coast, so perhaps this just isn't a species that will 
perform for you. You might try planting your bulbs, however, inside 
the drip line of a big conifer but on the sunny side of the tree.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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