Crown Imperials, does anyone know a good supplier?

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7a)

I planted six crown imperials last fall and only one came up.Does anyone know a supplier whose bulbs are vigorous enough to put in an appearance? I hadn't grown these in years and I remember that in the past these bulbs were always a little iffy, sometimes none came up, sometimes some came up but they always dwindled away after a year or two.I bought them from John Scheepers but I hesitate to blame them given my past experiences. I would like to have a stand of these like you see in the bulb ctalogues.Please share any positive experiences.

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

Off hand I don't but they need REALLY good drainage. Mine rotted out on me years ago and now they are fairly expensive. Awesome looking plants! People always used to stop and ask what they were, I told thme they were from Mars! They look like it!

Have you tried Brecks?

Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

They are tricky. I have bought them from several suppliers and they have done best in a very sunny bed that is quite sandy and that isn't waterered very often except by mother nature, which is typical for most spring bulbs. I talked to a successful grower years ago living west of Boston, who said they should be planted very deeply, more than 8" and on their side and mulched in zone 6 though they are not very successfully grown even if mulched in a colder zone. This person had a yellow army of them growing in front of a south facing stone wall. Magnificent. I use Brent and Becky or Van engelen, but I think the success is in the growing and not the bulbs, unless you buy them from one of the notoriously bad bulb dealers. Fingers crossed that mine return again next spring and that you too are successful. Though to be sure, I will be adding more. patti

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7a)

Just for the sake of comparison, I checked out the following four companies;

van Bourgondiens :Yellow Crown Imperial $16.99.size 20-22, I assume centimeters
John scheepers (sister company to van Engelen): Fritillaria imperialis lutea maxima$6.00, 20 centimeters
Easy to Grow Bulbs: Fritillaria Crown Imperial Yellow: $9.95 , 1 robust bulb
Brent and Becky's: Fritillaria - imperialis 'Lutea Maxima'$6.40, 20 centimeters

it's amazing how the prices vary, in fact I e- mailed van Bourgondien to ask them why they are so much more expensive.We'll see if they answer me.I hesitate to assume that the more expensive bulb is the better; you don't always get what you pay for .tommyr26 suggested brecks for crown imperials but they are not offering them.

Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

I would order from van engelen or b&b. Cheap bulbs from box stores and bad supplies are a waste of money and time, in my book. Their bulbs tend to be "cooked" by having them out in hot stores way too early or they are often rotten or moldy from poor handling and shipping conditions. Either way it isn't good. I learned the hard way years ago so now I am very particular about my suppliers. Patti

Solon, IA

I don't have a spot that these would like, but I have friends who grow them. The secret seems to be to tear open the box the second the bulbs arrive and run full tilt out to the already prepared bed and get the bulbs in the ground immediately. These picky little bulbs deeply resent being dug up and moved, and the less time they spend above ground the better. They will also perennialize much better if you never, ever cut any of the flowers, but even under the best of conditions they are not neccesarily a particularly long lived bulb. They prefer a very rich, but also very well drained soil, which can be problematic, and the bulbs will quickly die if they get waterlogged. Planting them on a raised berm is helpful, and some sand in the soil also helps with drainage.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

The reason they rot (and the suggestion to plant them on their side) is water collects in the depression on the top of the bulb. A word to the un-initiated......the bulbs smell horrible. At least I think they do. LOL Probably why the moles leave them alone. :>)

Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

Yup, stinky for sure. One year I left some in a cool closet for a week and when I opened the door to take them out to plant, I was almost knocked over by the stench. But that helps them not get eaten by the deer, so far. Same for most of the Fritillaria though some of the tiny ones gotten eaten one year by deer or the rabbits. Patti

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