Fritillaria imperialis 'Lutea'
Yellow Crown Imperial
Currently unavailable
Type/Hardiness Bulbous perennial, Hardy
Flowering period Late spring
Height 24-36in/60-90cm
Light preference Full sun
Soil preference Fertile, free-draining
Sowing time/depth ,
This striking and imposing plant produces a bright yellow crown of bell-like flowers in spring, above which is a top-knot of small leaves. The stems are thick, straight and clothed in bright green spear-shaped leaves. The plant has a foxy odour which is said to ward off vermin. Our fig tree is underplanted with numerous bulbs of this plant, the yellow flowers contrasting beautifully with the green-grey young branches of the fig. The timing is perfect - just as the fritillaria are dying back, the young fig leaves appear.
Sowing and/or growing instructions
Plant deeply (as much as 12 inches for mature bulbs, although 6 inches should suffice and may be a sensible depth if you are intending to thin out the bulbs regularly) in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. It is a wise precaution to both stand and surround the bulbs in sharp sand or fine horticultural grit. The buds and mature flowers may benefit from a little protection if harsh frosts are forecast - loosely cover with some fleece. Crown imperials can be susceptible to lily-beetle infestations. I have found that the best way of dealing with these is to hold a deep container against the plants and to sharply tap the stems. The insects will fall into the container and can then be killed. On the whole, though, this is not a difficult plant. Plant bulbs at 4 times their own depth, preferably on their sides,
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