Fritillaries meleagris produce alluring purple, occasionally white bell-shaped flowers, each adorned with their own distinctive chequered pattern. Also known as snake's head fritillaries, these delightful perennials will thrive in wildflower meadows, woodland gardens and cool, moist borders; if planting in grass, scatter the bulbs to give a natural drift effect.
Take care! Fritillaria bulbs are fragile and need to be handled with care.
Plant around 15 cm deep in damp (but not wet!) humus-rich or heavy soil in partial shade to full sun — bulbs will fail if planted too shallowly. Ensure that they can benefit from cool conditions in spring and that their soil remains moist in the summer months as they will otherwise petrify and die away. 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.