With the official start of fall, gardeners are thinking about spring and planting their bulbs. Beyond the traditional tulips, daffodils, and crocus, there are many unique spring-blooming bulbs to experiment with in your garden including Fritillaria meleagris.
Checkered lily, Guinea hen flower, snake’s head fritillary, snake’s head daffodil….Fritillaria meleagris may be known by many common names, but there’s nothing common about this bulb. While it is a member of the lily family, it’s neither a true lily nor daffodil. Nor does it look like a Guinea hen or snake. With 1-2” long, drooping flowers in shades of purple, (and sometimes white), accented with checkerboard-like markings of dark or lighter purple, a more suitable name for this uncommon spring-bloomers would be snazzy-flower.
Fritillaria meleagris is perfectly suited for damp soils – something that most other bulbs are intolerant of. The strap-like foliage is only 3-6” long. If you are bothered by the yellowing foliage after the flowers have faded, consider growing it in a grassy area and wait until the foliage has browned before cutting the grass.