With its distinctive checkered flower that emerges from a 'snake head' like position (see picture right) Fritillaria meleagris is another Fritillaria bulb that is grown widely in around the world and readily available for sale, but unfortunately almost extinct in the wild in some areas.
The 'Snakehead Fritillary' is one of the more fascinating small bulbs, the botanical name is Frittillaria Meleagris, and it chequered maroon and white flowers do look a little like a snakes head as they open. Fritillaria meleagris bulbs are a native of many countries in Europe including, France, Romania and Croatia and one of the easiest to care for.
They turn into a pretty oped bell shaped flower, drooping and nodding. A wonderful plant for the rock garden or for naturalising into the lawn or garden border, and a group of them growing in a container will also look fascinating.
Growing to around 30cm F. meleagris comes in a few forms including pinks, pale yellow.
- Fritillaria meleagris 'Alba' (pictured right) is the lovely white flowering species while the really fascinating
- Fritillaria Meleagris saturnus (see picture below right) has violet flowers and is perhaps one of the best of all.
A medium growing species Fritillaria meleagris have a distinctive checkered flower head. Like most other species, F. meleagris for proper care, requires a well drained position to avoid bulb rot, and can be successfully grown in a container or pot.
Grown in the ground or containers Fritillaria meleagris are a fairly easy to grow species. They do require a moist but well drained humus rich soil.
When planting, we find that these small bulbs tend to like to 'pull themselves down' as they grow so we tend to plant them at around 3-4" (say 10cm) deep.
They can be naturalized into a lawn as long as drainage is good. Propagation can be from seed, which can be sown in a cold frame in autumn. Bulbs can be divided after foliage has died back in autumn.
The bulbs are small and do need a well d rained soil and good sun in out climate.
You can propagate them from seed, however division is easier, the bulbs themselves will multiply they also form small bullets or 'rice' which will grow into a bulb in time.For more Fritillaria and Fritillaria Nurseries in the UK see our Main Fritillaria page or view information on individual species below: