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Lubera stops plant deliveries to the UK
Due to Brexit, we are not able to deliver to the UK. We are working on a solution on how we can continue to bring a wide range of Lubera plants to the UK and directly to our customers' homes in the future. However, such a solution will not be available before 2022 or 2023.

Crown Imperial

Kaiserkronen Titelbild pixabayThe majestic Fritillaria imperialis is a colourful spring messenger. These flowers are perfectly displayed on their own or between beds.

   
 
Persian Lily 'Ivory Bells'®

Fritillaria persica 'Ivory Bells'®

£9.40 *

Persian Lily 'Twin Tower Tribute'

Fritillaria persica 'Twin Tower Tribute'

£4.90 *

Snake's Head Fritillary 'Garland Star'

Fritillaria imperialis 'Garland Star'

£3.90 *

Snake's Head Fritillary 'Lutea'

Fritillaria imperialis 'Lutea'

£4.90 *

Snake's Head Fritillary 'Rubra'

Fritillaria imperialis 'Rubra'

£3.90 *

   
 

More useful information about Crown Imperial

Fritillaria imperialis, with its considerable size, is also amazing to look at from a distance. This colourful plant is simply enchanting with its lantern-like, seemingly self-nodding, ivory white, yellow, orange or all-purple flowers. These are arranged in a circle under a tuft, which is surrounded by lance-shaped bracts. Six to eight single flowers can hang on the sometimes over one metre high shafts of the crown imperial. Despite their imposing stature, these gorgeous plants can still be counted amongst some of the easiest to care for plants in the garden, as far as their demands on the soil are concerned. As a mountain flower of the lily family (Liliaceae), the crown imperial originates from the Middle East and Afghanistan and grows there at altitudes of about 3000 metres.

Many interesting names from the original Fritillaria imperialis have arisen over the years, which are in no way inferior to their parent form in terms of the attractiveness of the plant. Shining orange-red is the Fritillaria 'Garland Star', which surprises with its perfect vigour and has received the Award of Garden Merit from the English Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) for being so easy to grow. One of the most beautiful crown imperials is the Fritillaria persica 'Twin Tower Tribute'. With its two stems, each of which flowers continuously and which grows up to 80 to 100 cm on each of the flower bulbs, this variety is to commemorate the ruined Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City.  Before the flowers of this crown imperial turn purple between April and May, the plant bears beautiful mauve-coloured buds. No less attractive and similar to the very vigorous appearance of this Persica is our Fritillaria persica 'Ivory Bells'®, which is still one of the rarities in this country. With its silver-coloured veils above the ivory white to strongly green-coloured flowers, it actually offers something unique and almost mystical. The particularly pleasing thing about all three crown imperial plants is that they require a very small amount of time to care for many years.

 

Location

Kaiserkronen Titelbild pixabayStately plants need a bit of time to root, to form flowers and grow; they need a good deal of strength and a location in the sun. Although light shade will not significantly affect the flowering and growth of crown imperials, warm, sunny and bright sites are still among the absolute favourite locations of these pretty spring bloomers. All varieties have similar needs and love a never-dry, slightly acidic to neutral soil. Particularly important, if only a small garden is available, is to be aware that the location where you plant your crown imperial, must be sized so that the flowers later grow as free-standing as possible without the root pressure or the constricting neighbourhood of other plants impairing the flowering or growth. It may be more convenient not to plant the bulbs in the immediate vicinity of the favourite sitting area in the garden because the somewhat strong odour of these bulbs, reminiscent to that of skunk or fox, sometimes takes some getting used to by people with sensitive noses. Moles hate the smell of crown imperials and do not like to eat the blubs or flowers either.

Planting Fritillaria imperialis bulbs properly

As soon as the bulbs are available in specialist shops starting around August, they may already be placed in the still pleasantly warm soil. We recommend the latest planting of these perennials at the end of September. The bulbs of a Fritillaria imperialis must, so that it flowers properly, be planted about 15 to 20 cm deep in the soil and with the hole that comes from the floral stem from the previous year planted up. If the excavation of the planting hole shows too firm a layer of clay, the soil must be thoroughly loosened before planting the bulbs.  Before inserting the flower bulbs into the soil, a three to five centimetre thick layer of sand should be poured in for better drainage, on which the bulb then rests directly.

If the soil is problematic, a 50% larger planting hole should be dug, which is then filled with a growth-promoting mixture of one part of good and properly loamy soil and one part of mature compost after inserting the crown imperial flower bulbs. As the spring flowering plants reach quite respectable stature heights, we recommend keeping a minimum distance of about 30 to 40 cm when planting Fritillaria imperialis (same or different species). For a group planting, which should later also be visually representative, planting about 10 bulbs per square metre is to be expected. Immediately after planting, if necessary, work in some organic fertiliser (if possible in liquid form), then keep the area moderately but regularly moist.

Care

While in the first year and especially during the period of their flowering, the bulbs can be watered, older specimens of crown imperial can, however, be left to their own devices. Much more important than watering, is the avoidance of waterlogging, which would lead to decay symptoms in the root area and the bulb over time. At the end of the flowering period, care can be taken to remove the leaves that are beginning to wither. The complete cutting back of Fritillaria imperialis takes place only when the entire foliage has dried up and begins to come loose almost entirely from the stems. The reason for this is the following: as long as the leaves are still slightly green, the plants collect all the nutrients they contain in order to store them in the bulbs as a growth reserve.

Since these attractive spring plants grow unusually fast and already present their gorgeousm colourful flowers in April, a small amount of fertiliser is helpful at this time also. Since we are dealing with a mountain plant, when fertilising crown imperials, it is primarily the perfect supply of minerals and trace elements that is needed, and less the need for particularly high levels of nutrients. In the end, however, the latter essentially decides whether, after successful care, the plants will actually reach their intended final height or simply stop 20 cm before the maximum. Therefore it is best when caring for this perennial to choose an organic liquid fertiliser that contains a balanced mixture of all vital constituents.

Fritillaria imperialis overwinter completely without problems in the ground. Once the perennials have become accustomed to their location in the garden, they can easily be left alone for the next ten years, allowing the plants to form colonies. If they are taken out of the ground anyway, their bulbs shrink and they will not bloom later. However, transplanting works without any problems, so that the plant will blooms again wonderfully starting next spring. In autumn, the bulb should be dug up with as much soil as possible and immediately reused at the new planting site.

How to propagate crown imperials

Immediately after the flowering season at the end of May, the plants start to develop fruit capsules. The resulting seeds can simply fall out and let themselves seed, but you must then make sure to keep the surrounding environment free of weeds. Since the crown imperial is a representative of the so-called cold germinators, the seeds usually grow in the following year. Unfortunately they do not always grow where they are expected, as the small seeds are often carried off by ants throughout the garden. These plants can be propagated much more professionally by using the daughter bulbs that regularly form on the main bulb of the plant. They cling there relatively loosely and can be removed after careful excavation and exposure of the root area and immediately planted in a new site. If the bulbs are too small, the proliferation of a Fritillaria imperialis, which has been around for some years, can also be done by gently dividing the bulbs.

Do you have to deal with plant diseases or pests?

Apart from a possible decay, which will occur quite quickly as a result of persistent waterlogging, Fritillaria imperialis is resistant to all common diseases and is also only occasionally infested with larvae and beetles, such as the red lily beetle. In general, however, such infestation is predominantly regulated naturally and very quickly, as these insects are amongst the favourite foods of all kinds of useful beetles or parasitic wasps and even birds.

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