The fascinating Fritillaria meleagris or Snake’s head fritillary is a relatively easy to grow and easy care member of the genus. The attractive checked flowers begin closed and resemble a ‘snake’s head’ (pictured right) they then open into an attractive bell shape. Flowers are usually maroon with white although a white forms available (still with the trademark checked pattern)
Care and Growing Notes
Fritillaria meleagris bulbs grow well in any free draining soil, well suited to a rock garden, growing in pots or in a woodland situation. Part sun to afternoon summer shade is best. Plants will reach 30cm with the flowers held high, foliage is sparse.
Plant in Autumn for a great display in late winter to early spring. We grow ours in containers as well as in clumps in the garden border. Look for the white flowering F.meleagris alba as well as few cultivars.
Originally native to areas of Europe from France through to Russia F.meleagris is now rare in the wild but common in cultivation.
Grow from bulbs or seeds if you are patient. Clumps can be divided in autumn to winter in Australia. Fertilize with a liquid seaweed or slow release fertilizer.
Once established Fritillaria meleagis is relatively low care. They grow well in full sun to part shade and will grow well in containers for 3 – 4 years before needing repotting.
- Plant the bulbs 5 cm (2 inches) deep.
- Use a humus rich well drained soil.
- In late winter to early spring its time to fertilise with some organic fertiliser, a little aged cow manure and a little light mulch.
- In spring, its time to water Fritillaria if the rainfall is poor, this ensures better flowers.
- Over summer, try not to let the soil or bulbs dry complexity.
- After flowering, leave the foliage until it does back naturally, this will give nourishment to the bulbs for next season.
- Once the foliage dies off, you can remove it to tidy up the area.
- Flower heads can be left to promote self seeding, or removed to prevent it.
- After the foliage has died right back its time to apply a light mulch.
- One of the easiest of all of the Fritillarias
- Deep humus rich soil.
- A moist soil over summer, well drained in winter
- Colors from white to the deep purple chequered.
- Grows well in containers or in the ground.
- Repot every 3 years.
Fritillaria Meleagris are available for sale from the following growers
'Sylvan Vale' 375 Olinda Creek Rd, Kalorama, VIC.3766
Including a large range of Rare and unusual bulbs, corms and perennials
400 Huon Rd South Hobart TAS 7004
Cool climate bulbs for the collector and the gardener. Wide range of crocus, cyclamen, galanthus and fritillaria in Australia
PO Box 7040 Leura NSW 2780
Rare woodland plants, Trilliums Epimediums, Arisaemas, plus much more.www.lynnsrareplants.com.au
P.O. Box 369 New Norfolk TAS 7140
Huge range of Spring and Summer flowering Bulbs
365 Lighthouse Rd Wynyard. TAS 7325
PH 03 6442 2012
email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Jacksons Hill Rd, Menzies Creek VIC 3159
Hundreds of different varieties of daffodils as well as other beautiful spring & autumn flowering bulbs for home gardeners. Free colour catalogues available. Tulips, Daffodils,Alliums, Freesias, Iris and many other bulbs.
125 Palmer Rd Jindivick 3818
Open Thursday - Sunday 10am - 4pm
Specialising in growing and selling Rare and Unusual Trees, shrubs Perennials Bulbs and Climbers, a unique nursery with amazing stock.