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Fritillaria imperiallis—The Crown Jewels of Any Garden!

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A majestic sight in the late spring garden, Crown Imperial fritillaria has a long history, cultivated as early as the 16th century. Throughout the years, countless varieties have been hybridized in the quest to extend the color range of blooms, and to make them more adaptable to varied climates.

Crown Imperial fritillaria are breathtaking when planted en masse in a bed, or at the back of a perennial border. Regal flower stalks rise 3-4 feet (90-120 cm), topped by a tiara of pineapple-like leaves and a corona of large, brilliantly colored blooms. Two new varieties available from Breck’s —Vivaldi and Chopin—have been specially hybridized to be more compact (2-2.5 feet high), so they also perform well in containers for bold accents on decks, porches and patios.  

Crown Imperial fritillaria bulbs are very sensitive, and many bulbs are still harvested by hand. They must be handled gently to avoid injury that would make the bulbs susceptible to rot. They’re packed with care and immediately shipped in the fall, the optimum time for planting.

Since the bloom stalk develops from a natural depression in the bulb, you should plant it on its side to discourage rot in the event of a soggy winter. Crown Imperial performs best in full sun, in sandy, well-drained soil. Flowering in late spring, blooms have a distinct scent that repels pesky rodents like squirrels, moles and mice. When flowers are spent, cut the bloom stalk at the base and let the foliage grow to nourish next year’s blooms.

Start planning now for next year’s garden. Crown Imperials and other spring beauties are available in your Breck’s catalog, or shop Breck’s online!

Vivaldi Crown Imperial

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Mary Pat has written 23 post in this blog.

June 16, 2015
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