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About Fritillaria Imperial BulbsEverything about this regal member of the lily family is enormous. Fritillaria imperial bulbs can be the size of tennis balls. The plant's thick stalks can reach 4' tall and produce lance-shaped leaves up to 6" long. Each stem is topped by an "imperial crown" of several nodding, 2-3" flowers and, above them, a crest of leaflike bracts that resembles the Fritillaria of a pineapple. Any Fritillaria imperial variety makes a stylish focal point or border plant in the garden. Although Fritillaria imperialis has a disagreeable scent that belies its elegant appearance, the smell repels bugs and hungry deer and rodents.
When To Plant Fritillaria Imperial BulbsFritillaria imperial bulbs should be planted in fall. The strong-growing plants will become crowded every 3-5 years. When they do, it is recommended that, after the leaves have entirely withered away, the bulbs be divided and replanted, also in the fall.
How to plant Fritillaria Imperial BulbsHere are the steps to take in order to plant successful Fritillaria Imperials in your garden.
- Choose a location in about any type of fertile, well-drained soil that receives full sun to partial shade.
- Bulbs should be planted 6" deep and 12-18" apart because the plants will develop fairly large root systems.
- Plant bulbs on their sides to prevent water from collecting in their hollow crown, which results in rotting.
- Heavy soils can also retain excess water and cause rotting, so add a deep layer of sand at the bottom of the planting holes to improve drainage. Also add humus to enrich the soil.
Caring For Your Fritallia Imperial FlowersTaking care of your fritallia imperial flowers is relatively easy. These high-style plants are exceptionally hardy, and deer, rodents and squirrels tend to avoid digging them. Like most flower corms, fritillaria sprout in the spring with little prodding. Fertilize lightly with a flower-friendly formula, such as a 5-10-5, after the plants begin to grow. Water them throughout the growing season, but don't allow their roots to become soggy, as friallia don't care for wet feet.
Once your fritallia begin to fade after the blooming season, allow their leaves to continue to photosynthesize and save energy for the next growing season. Once they've gone fully brown, you can cut the leaves back.
Healthy fritallia tend to need dividing every year or two to keep the plants healthy and well-spaced. In the fall, around the fritillaria bulbs to find smaller bulblets. Remove the bulblets from the parent bulb, and replant them in another shady location for even more of these beautiful shade plants.