Fritillaria imperialis and persica help

Jane McGary
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 17:18:36 PDT
Janos wrote,

With F. imperialis i had no luck keeping them longer than 1-2 years, they
>flower well the first year if planted early as possible, but eventually
>they die out. They just not emerging next year. When i dud up the place the
>bulbs disappear.
>With F. persica the bulbs grow for many years, but even with a well sized
>bulb they send up shoots with aborted buds, but in the first year they
>flower well, so i think the bulb needs a special treatment not to abort the
>Do they need a special soil?

Both these species need well-drained soil, the kind you would use in 
a rock (alpine) garden. They should be as dry as possible in summer. 
The bulbs you buy have been dug after their growth period and stored 
in special temperature controlled places in the Netherlands, and that 
is why they flower well the first year. Also, the treatment they 
receive there can suppress virus infections, but once they come into 
your garden, any viruses that are present can increase, attack and 
even kill the plant.

The aborted buds are, I think, caused by temperature variation. I 
also see this on Fritillaria persica some years, but the next year 
they may have good flowers. F. persica is a widespread species and so 
some forms are more tolerant of extremes of cold or heat than others 
are. The bulbs sold by the Dutch as 'Adiyaman' are sometimes similar 
to that clone with large purple flowers, but sometimes quite 
different, for instance with small brown flowers. The one sold as 
'Ivory Bells' is a whitish form; wild-collected seed I got from an 
Archibald expedition to western Iran produced about a dozen plants of 
this color.

Because I believed the Fritillaria imperialis bulbs I bought were 
infected with viruses, I decided to grow my own from seed, and this 
has been quite successful, but so far I have them under cover in my 
bulb house ("Mediterranean house"), where they experience colder 
temperatures than they would in nature but are protected from excess 
moisture. All the F. persica plants I now have are also grown here from seed.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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