If you demand a quick return on your investment, these are not the bulbs for you. They usually take their time to settle in before putting on their impressive showand they may rest for a year after blooming, too. In spring, unbranched stems ranging from 6 in. to 3 ft. high are topped by bell-shaped, nodding flowers, often odd looking and unusually colored and mottled. Use in woodland gardens, rock gardens, or borders. Deer reisistant
F. imperialis. CROWN IMPERIAL. Native to Europe. Stout stalk to 3 ft. tall, clothed with broad, glossy leaves and crowned by circle of large (2- to 3-in.-long) bells in red, orange, or yellow; a tuft of leaves tops the flowers. Bulb and plant have musky odor that some people find offensive.
F. meleagris. CHECKERED LILY, SNAKESHEAD. Native to damp meadows in Europe, Asia; does best in moist soil and tolerates occasional flooding. One to three showy, 2-in. bells top each 1- to 112-ft. stem; blossoms are checkered and veined with reddish brown and purple. Lance-shaped leaves are 36 in. long. There is a white-blossomed form.
F. michailovskyi. From Turkey. To 6 in. high. Each stem bears one to six 1- to 112-in. bells that are purplish brown at base, bright yellow toward tip.
F. pallidiflora. From northern China, Siberia. Each 2- to 3-ft. stem carries one to six 114-in. bells in pale yellow tinted with green.
F. persica 'Adiyaman'. Selection of a species from western Asia. Stems 23 ft. tall carry up to 30 deep plum-purple, inch-long flowers on upper half. Foliage is gray-green. Plant is hardy and easy to grow, but emerging stems need protection from late frosts. 'Ivory Bells' is similar, but with greenish white blooms.
F. verticillata. Native to central Asia. Stems 12 ft. tall bear one to six flowers in white or yellow speckled with green or purple. Upper leaves have a tendril-like tip.
In fall, plant bulbs in porous soil with ample humus. Set smaller bulbs 34 in. deep and 6 in. apart; set largest ones (F. imperialis) 45 in. deep, 812 in. apart. All appreciate some winter chill and tend to perform poorly where summers are hot and dry. Reduce watering as foliage dies back in summer. Clumps seldom need dividing.