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Zones 1-7, 15-17, 32-43
Partial Sun
Regular Water

Fritillaria meleagris

Checkered Lily
Bulbs and bulblike plants, Perennials


In spring, unbranched stems ranging from 6 in. to 3 ft. high are topped by bell-shaped, nodding flowers, often unusually colored and mottled. Use in woodland gardens, rock gardens, or borders.

In fall, plant bulbs in porous soil with ample humus. Set smaller bulbs 3–4 in. deep and 6 in. apart; set largest ones (Fritillaria imperialis) 4–5 in. deep, 8–12 in. apart. Bulbs sometimes rest for a year after planting or after blooming, so put in enough for yearly display. All appreciate some winter chill and tend to perform poorly where summers are hot and dry. Reduce watering as foliage dies back in summer. Once it is gone, withhold water from F. biflora until fall. F. meleagris needs moderate to regular water during dormancy; the others require some summer moisture. Clumps seldom need dividing.

Fritillaria meleagris

Native to damp meadows in Europe and Asia; tolerates occasional flooding. One to three showy, 2-in. bells top each 1–1 1/2-ft. stem; blossoms are checkered and veined with reddish brown and purple. Lance-shaped, 3–6-in.-long leaves. There is a white-blossomed form.

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