Fritillaries elwesii are striking, easy-to-grow perennials producing clusters of deep purple and olive green bell-shaped flowers hanging from fine arching stems in early spring. Try mixing with other spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. They are attractive to pollinating insects.
Take care! Fritillaria bulbs are fragile and need to be handled with care.
Plant around 15 cm deep and approximately 10 cm apart in fertile, humus-rich and well-drained soil in dappled shade to full sun — adding plenty of well-rotted manure or leaf mould with added grit to aid drainage, and allowing around 50 to 75 bulbs per square meter. Since they do no like to be disturbed, make sure to plant them where they can be left to naturalise. Feed every couple of weeks with high potash feed; if you garden organically liquid seaweed is ideal as it is organic and comes from a sustainable source.
Always unpack and plant on arrival. Always wear gloves when handling them since they can cause skin irritation. All fritillaria parts are poisonous and should not be eaten.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Generally disease free, fritillaries can however be affected by:
Lily beetles: these pests like to feed on leaves and since fritillaries are part of the lily family, they are prone to their attacks. As soon as you see any signs of these little blighters, pick them off and destroy them.
Snails and slugs: these pests enjoy munching on young shoots, stems, leaves and flowers. Watch out for damage!
Non-flowering: this issue is usually due to shallow planting, heavy clay or poor sandy soil.