Anyone had success with checkered lily / fritillaria meleagris?

gottagarden(z5 western NY)April 5, 2012

Saw some fritillaria meleagris for sale and almost bought them - again! I've planted twice, but never see them after that. I can grow just about anything, and it is hardy here and right pH, so . . . what's the trick?

Late to emerge? Sensitive to ? Advice please :-)

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My experience is that it may not be particularly long lived. But if happy, it may self-seed nicely. Allegedly resents disturbance after being established. I have a species named nigra which is similar but taller and up to 5 flowers on the stems. It clumps nicely. Also recommended: meleagroides and ruthenica(but more expensive and rare)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 7:20PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

had them here for 12 years.. and brought them from the old house where they were for 10 years prior ..

and here.. in the sand.. they self sow from seed .. and multiply ..

i think i know the answer.. but i refuse to tell you


    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 7:28PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

On the other end of the soil spectrum from sand..... mine are in a part of the garden that oozes water as you walk across the soggy clayish surface. They are doing well now for three years and I keep waiting for a spring where a bunny doesn't nip off the stems just as they are coming into bloom. They are not eatten, just nipped off at the ground.

Maybe you could get the same effect by taking a string trimmer to them just as they are about to come into bloom? Maybe that will help?

Have you been buying them in the spring or have you tried planting the bulbs in fall?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 8:42PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

They are native here but rare. The best places for them are damp meadows with good drainage. I have a few but they are not happy. They reappear every year but don't flower well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Snake's head fritillary

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 12:26PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

in my yard..

its sand.. little mulch.. barely any water.. and benign neglect .. go figure. ..

in the 12 years we have been here.. my wife did ONE thing in the garden .. ONCE ... and that was pull out all the grass in the rock garden one day ..

luckily i walked by.. and replanted all the fritillaria ... before they dried out ...

you might increase your odds.. by clearly marking the spot ... so you dont pull out the grass in late summer/fall ...

come to think of it.. mine are all in the shade ... and very shallowly planted ... as most self sown plants are ...


    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 3:39PM
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I think I have one left this spring. They're slowly died out for me. The spot that they are in is fairly wet so maybe they need better drainage.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 3:43PM
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I had them at a previous house for several years, but haven't wanted to try again since Friillarias are supposed to be susceptible to the red lily beetles which are a problem around here.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 8:46PM
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Unfortunately the few I ever got to grow attracted the first lily beetles of the season. They weren't decimated like the crown imperial frit. and other lilies. But a unpleasant prediction of the rest of the beetle/lily season

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 12:05AM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

I had them at my old house in Anchorage, Alaska and they flourished for the fifteen years that they were in my custody. They were there when we moved in and were planted in well drained, lean soil on the north side of the house (but in Alaska in June that means several hours of weak direct sun from 10pm until midnight or so). All I ever did to them was a bit of fertilizer once a year if I remembered. Once I tried to divide them; they didn't like that but did bounce back.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 3:02AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Thanks everyone. I can't remember if I bought in spring or fall, but probably on clearance so maybe they were too dried up.

Or . . . Ken may have provided a clue - perhaps it looked like grass and I pulled them out?? I've done worse.

Seems lots of people have good luck with them, perhaps I'll try again and clearly mark the site so I don't accidentally remove / replace them.

Flora - damp meadow with good drainage - isn't that a bit of an oxymoron? If it's damp, it wouldn't have good drainage. or perhaps you mean moist, but not quite a bog.

Will give them another try . . .

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 6:37AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Damp with good drainage means plentiful moisture but not stagnant. It is possible to have damp soil which drains well. They are increasingly rare here but where they do grow it is in riverside meadows.

Here is a link that might be useful: Snakeshead fritillary

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 12:30PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I've never done well with any Fritillaria, but these. Mine are in partial shade, average soil, good drainage and get watered often. I really need to divide these because I dug a clump by accident and the bulbs were right at the soil surface, barely covered. I know I planted them a lot deeper.
They bloom like crazy every year.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 8:44AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I planted a few bulbs about 15 years ago and now have a couple of nice clumps which bloom cheerfully every spring. Benign neglect.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 10:08PM
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I planted these as bulbs in the fall a couple years ago. Mine are all in the grass under shade trees scattered here and there. It's typical silty loam soil that can get pretty damp in the spring because we are low lying, but dries out over the summer. They seem to like it there.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 9:32AM
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