HOW TO GROW FRITILLARIA?
FRITILLARIA PLANTING GUIDE
Fritillaria are fun! The small 4-inch-high Meleagris variety has adorable little pendulous blooms with a beautifully checkered pattern, while the Imperialis variety stands almost 10 times taller at 36 inches. These naturalizing and fragrant flower bulbs will add some special joy to any garden.
Plant in fall
Bloom in spring
Hardiness zone 4-9
Full sun or partial shade
Once after planting
Moderately in spring
WIDTH & DEPTH
4-12” apart depending on variety
3-6” deep depending on variety
When your DutchGrown fritillaria arrive and you can’t plant them immediately, it’s important to store them correctly: unpack them right away and put them in a dry place with plenty of air circulation, where the temperature is between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Garden & Container Planting
Like all flower bulbs, fritillaria need a cold period to develop their roots and get ready for spring. So once you feel fall’s first chill in the air, it’s time to get planting. If you live in hardiness zone 9 or higher, the soil won’t get cold enough for the root-developing process to happen, but you might consider forcing
Flower bulbs are tough cookies that are easy to grow, but one thing they hate is getting their feet wet: a bulb that is ‘bathing’ in water will rot in no time. So avoid soggy soil at all cost – this means places where you can still see puddles 5-6 hours after a rainstorm. Another thing you can do is to upgrade potentially soggy soil by adding organic material such as peat, bark or manure.
Fritillaria need the sun to grow, but though they adore basking in its glory all day, they can also do very well in places with dappled shade or scattered sunlight.
Fritillaria will need to be planted deep enough that they won’t be affected by temperature variations above ground, either too warm or too cold.
The standard method for calculating the ideal planting depth is to dig a hole three times as deep as the bulb is high, and place the bulb at the bottom with its pointy end up. Since fritillaria grow less well when they have to fight for nutrients with their fellow bulbs, it’s best to plant them 4-5” apart for the smaller varieties and up to 12” apart for the larger varieties.
To help the bulbs settle and grow roots quickly, it’s important to water them well after planting, but after that you won’t have to water them again. Now all you have to do is wait patiently for winter to do its magic underground, and spring to surprise you with the rewards of your work.
During blooming season you generally don’t have to water your fritillaria, but you can water them when there hasn’t been any rain for 3-5 days.
After fritillaria have finished blooming, don’t cut the foliage straight away: through photosynthesis the leaves will create nutrients that the bulb will be needing for its next growing season. After a few weeks the foliage will automatically yellow and die back, and then you can remove it. Now the bulb will be going dormant, and won’t need any watering until next spring.
How to plant fritillaria in your garden:
- Wait until the soil is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. In the North this will be in September or October, in the South in October or November.
- Pick a spot in your garden that has well-draining soil and gets full sun or partial shade.
- Plant the fritillaria bulbs about 3-6” deep and 4-12” apart, depending on the variety, and place them in the soil with their pointy ends up. Water well once and wait for spring
- After the fritillaria have bloomed don’t cut off the foliage. Leave it until it’s completely withered and yellow, then remove.
Not for containers:
Unfortunately, fritillaria aren’t recommended for containers, since these bulbs do best when they are left undisturbed for long periods of time.