>Do they need a special soil? Both species grow quite well in my garden, in clay soil. My average annual precipitation is about 30 cm, mostly occurring from March to July. The clay soil prevents rain from penetrating too deeply; the bulbs are planted about 15 cm deep. The only time of the year when moisture penetrates that deeply is in late winter and early spring, from melting snow. I suspect that my climate is similar to that of the bulb's native habitat, though, of course, worse. It's fairly common for Fritillaria persica to abort buds, if there is cold weather just as the buds are being formed. One recommendation for preventing the bulbs of F. imperialis from getting too wet is to plant them at a 45 degree angle, so that water does not remain in the hole left by last year's flower stalk. I can't imagine the soil ever getting that wet in my garden, but I suppose in does in other gardens. I discovered, this past March, while scratching in the soil near where the F. imperialis grow, that even though the foliage had not emerged, I could smell the bulbs. Bob Nold Denver, Colorado, USA Zone 6, I guess.