Imperial crown - Fritillaria imperialis


Fritillaria imperialis is a perennial bulbous plant native to Asia; produces long erect stems, stiff, up to 100-120 cm tall, with alternate leaves up to about one third of the height; the leaves are arched, ribbon-like, pointed, dark green, shiny. At the apex of the stem, starting from late spring, numerous large bell-shaped flowers bloom, hanging in a showy circular crown; the flowers of fritillaria imperialis are bright and intense in shades of yellow and red. During the cold months the aerial part dries up and the bulbs go into vegetative rest. It is a plant belonging to the Liliaceae family of European origin; for its characteristic flowers it is also called imperial crown.


For a vigorous growth of the Fritillaria imperialis it is good to place it in a semi-shaded place, so that the plants receive a few hours of sunshine in the morning; do not fear the cold. Before burying the bulbs it is good to consider that they need a large space to develop at their best and place them at a good distance from other plants. They can show signs of suffering if placed in fully sunny places, especially during the summer when temperatures are higher.


From the end of February to the withering of the flowers water the imperial crown plants regularly, avoiding the excesses and waiting for the soil to dry between one watering and another; when the leaves begin to turn yellow, the waterings can be drastically thinned out until the following year. Always check that the soil in which the specimens of Fritillaria imperialis are found allows proper drainage, so that no water stagnation can form.


Place the large bulbs in rich, very well drained, soft and sandy soil, about 10-15 cm deep; the bulbs of fritillaria imperialis they bloom best when they are left undisturbed; they settle down in autumn, and sometimes they start to flower from the second year after planting. The best soil for the growth of the imperial crown is formed by sand and peat. To provide the nourishment necessary for new plants, it is good to mix mature manure with the soil.


After flowering, the imperial fritillaries produce long pods containing numerous fertile seeds, which are sown at the end of spring directly in the dwelling. If the sowing is done in the cold season, then, it will be appropriate to allow the rooting of the new specimens in a container placed in a protected place, to allow germination before placing them at home.
It is also possible to detach the bulbils from the bulbs for a few years, but the operation could compromise the flowering for the following year.

Imperial crown - Fritillaria imperialis: Pests and diseases

Generally imperial crown plants are not attacked by pests or diseases; however, they are sensitive to excessive humidity which can lead to the onset of fungal diseases which, if not treated quickly, can lead to the death of the affected specimens.