Plant of the Month for Jun 2024

Fritillaria meleagris

Description and General Information:

Fritillaria meleagris, commonly called the checkered lily or snake's-head fritillary,  is a bulbous plant that has narrow leaves and one or two nodding flowers atop 25-40 cm stems. Each flower is about 5 cm in diameter. The tepals are checkered in shades of purple or the flowers may be white. They typically bloom mid-spring. In the wild, it occurs throughout much of Europe, into western Asia, often growing along river plains. While generally disease-free and resistant to rabbits and deer, they are attacked by the dreaded red lily leaf beetle. 

Fritillaria meleagris 'Alba'



Unlike many species of Fritillaria, this one prefers soil that stays reasonably moist through the summer months.  In fact, too dry soil can cause the death of the plant. Plant the bulbs in mid-late fall, about 10-15 cm deep.  They look best when planted in groups of drifts. The soil should be well-drained but evenly moist, preferably with some organic matter.  It is not fussy about the soil pH.  It may be grown in full sun to part shade.  Naturalizes nicely in lawns. It is hardy to zone 3.

Fritillaria meleagris

Blooming Season:

March in milder areas to as late as May in colder.


Bulbs are generally available in most garden centers or on-line bulb specialists.  Once established, it often freely multiplies by natural bulb division.  Large clumps may be dug and divided once the foliage dies down. It may also be grown from fall-sown seeds.

Fritillaria meleagris


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