Fritillaria are a member of the “Lillaceae” family, there are around 100 species, and most of the Fritillaria’s have bell shaped pendant flowers. Fritillaria originate from the Northern Hemisphere, Mediterranean, parts of Asia and America. Excellent bulbs for the rock garden, woodland, raised beds and garden borders most are easy to grow and will last in flower for a few weeks n the right conditions.
Fritillaria Meleagris (Snakes’s Head) with their lovely checker board effect flowers in shades of purple and sometimes white are seen less and less in the wild which is a great shame, to see them planted on mass glinting in the sun is a sight to behold. Fritillaria thrive in damp grassland and meadows with are prone to flooding in winter. Meleagris are hermaphrodite they are pollinated by bees, they also self fertilize.
Crown Imperials have a some what unattractive smell but there graceful beauty in the middle to the back of the border makes it easy to live with; the flowers are borne at the top of the stem with a crown of fresh green leave above. Plant Fritillaria Crown Imperials almost on their side this will prevent water from sitting in the bulb causing them to rot. Plant in full sun well drained sandy soil and you crown imperials will provide years of colour.
Persica is an excellent for the middle to back of the border with around 20 deep plum purple bells shaped flowers they bring a little drama to the garden. Ivory Bells has flower of pale ivory green, Fritillaria Persica and Ivory Bells needs plenty of sun to develop they like well drained sandy soil, grit will also help with drainage, they like to be planted deep around 15-20 cm deep almost on their side to prevent the bulb from rotting.
Elwesii is a graceful of Fritillaria only 20cm high they have greyish green leaves with up to three or more flowers the narrow bells are a lovely shade of rich plum purple almost with a black tone, with contrasting olive green stripe, provide good drainage in a light soil add a little humus when planting, this lovely little variety will take dappled shade.
Hermonis Amana is a fritillaria that should be more widely grown, it’s easy to grown and robust the beautiful emerald green flowers are tessellated with reddish brown, Hermonis likes well drained moist soil in full sun to dappled shade, plant around 10 cm deep.
Pontica has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit because it’s a good reliable performer in the right conditions, full sun to dappled shade with moist well drained soil plant around 8-10 cm deep. The flowers of Fritillaria Pontica are slender bell shaped green on the outside with a hint of purple brown flushing, the inside is more citron-green a lovely variety with a light fragrance.
Uva Vulpis “what a name” this fritillaria bears around three bell shaped flowers per stem thrives in moist well drained soil that does not dry out,
Provide high potash fertilizer before planting and as an occasional top dressing, if planting Meleagris in grass it is important to leave the leaves fro at least six weeks before mowing. Like all bulbs in the Lillaceae family they are prone to attack from the Lily Beatle keep a watchful eye.
There are some excellent varieties of Fritillaria they are worth hunting out; there is a space in every garden even for just one variety.http://bit.ly/17YBDJl
Fritillaria will flower mostly in April/May give them a damp site that does not dry out, it is important you plant fritillaria on arrival. Crown Imperials have been know to keep moles at bay as the aroma of these fritillaria can penetrate into the ground.