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The Persian Fritillary was introduced into English gardens in the late sixteenth century, but at the time did not capture the same attention as its cousin, the Crown Imperial Lily. This Fritillary’s unusual, deep violet blue flowers are perhaps more appealing to modern tastes. Bernard McMahon, Jefferson’s gardening mentor, listed the Fritillaria persica on his 1810 broadsheet.
This hardy bulb produces a two- to four-foot spike with glossy, blue-green foliage that features showy, bell-shaped, dusky purple flowers in mid-spring. Plant in a sunny, well-drained site, covering with 6-8 inches of soil. Best if lifted after foliage dies back and kept warm and dry. Replant in autumn.