Grow Fritillaria Bulbs for a Showstopping Spring Display

Grow Fritillaria Bulbs for a Showstopping Spring Display

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If you thought you could only get dramatic blooms in a professionally-curated bouquet, like the seasonal pieces BloomsyBox offers in its monthly subscription package, think again!

Big, bright, and exuberant flowers can be the crowning glory of your garden with very little effort! Just try growing fritillaria to see and appreciate this for yourself.

Fritillaria Flowers Blooming in Spring

Bell-shaped flowers in the most exotic array of colors and sizes, fritillaria are a close relative to lilies and the perfect perennial pick-me-up that your raised bed, planter, or garden might need. Discover just how easy it is to grow these luscious flowers – that are so beautiful they are facing endangerment due to how irresistible they are for picking! – at home with this simple fritillaria planting guide.

Related Post: All About Daylilies 

How to plant fritillaria bulbs

Growing fritillaria at home couldn’t be easier. To plant these showstopping flowers, follow general planting guidelines and dig a hole that is approximately four times the size of the bulb. This will mean that for larger fritillaria varieties like the imposing Crown Imperial whose exuberant blooms, complete with a tropical leafy crown, can reach to well over a meter in height, it is better to plant their bulbs even deeper to give them strong, sturdy foundations that will stand the test of time and weather.

For smaller varieties, you can plant your bulbs roughly 4” deep. As ever, you want to ensure the side of the fritillaria bulb with any sort of pointed parts is facing upwards.

Once planted with the soil tamped over the bulb, give your fritillaria a good watering.

When to plant fritillaria bulbs

Fritillaria planting zones will depend on the kind of fritillaria variety you choose. However, most plants are hardy in USDA zones 4-9.

As these are spring-blooming flowers, you can plant your fritillaria bulbs in early fall to give them time to take root before the coldness of winter really sets in.

It’s important to note that, unlike other spring bulbs like tulips, fritillaria don’t have ‘tunics’ (the protective outer covering that prevents moisture loss). This means that the best time to plant your bulbs isn’t just seasonal, it’s relative to when you buy your bulbs too. You should aim to get your bulbs into the ground as soon as you can after buying to avoid any potential damage.

Where to plant fritillary bulbs

The conditions fritillary flowers need to grow are as diverse as the different colors, shapes, and sizes of this plant’s many varieties. As you will find these flowers popping up in a range of locations all over the world, it’s important to choose wisely when picking the fritillaria you wish to grow to ensure it can thrive in your garden’s weather, soil, and sun conditions.

Some will delight in the heat of full sun while others require a shaded oasis in order to grow.

Fritillaria imperialis

For example, the dramatic and ever-popular Fritillaria imperialis (also known as the crown imperial given its 1.2m meter height) with its bold and dramatic orange and yellow blooms bursting from its leafy crown, thrives in full sunlight with only some slight shade in summer.

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Meanwhile, Fritillaria meleagris, also known as snake’s head with its checkerboard purple or white petals that bear a striking resemblance to the patterns of a snake’s skin, are best suited to low-altitude hollows that are damp and dappled and don’t receive too much sunlight. This makes it a great option for hedging and planting incontainers. Similar to chionodoxa, these varieties of fritillaria are also ideal for planting beneath a deciduous tree that will keep it cool and shaded in summer heat.

The one thing almost all fritillaria varieties will agree on is the kind of soil they are grown in. Fritillaria love well-draining, fertile soil that will remain moist but never get waterlogged. So, when growing fritillaria, be sure to choose a spot with soil that is free-draining or can be enriched with grit, sand, or bark to keep your flowers’ feet from rotting.

When do fritillaria bloom?

Once planted, you can expect to see gorgeous fritillaria flowers burst forth alongside other spring blooms like tulips, peonies, and alliums, in springtime.

Do fritillaria bulbs multiply?

Snake’s head fritillaria is the best variety to multiply on its own and will usually bloom again the following spring if planted in good soil and aspect.

While most other fritillary bulbs are treated as annuals, you can encourage them to perennialize and multiply with a little tender loving care.

Snake's Head

How to grow fritillaria so that they rebloom and multiply

To achieve this, feed your fritillaria plants with a little fertilizer (tomato feed is good) right before or directly after they begin to flower. Then, deadhead spent flowers as soon as they wilt, avoiding cutting back foliage until it has yellowed and withered.

As we know from other perennial flowers, leaving the foliage to die back is an important regenerative process for perennial flowers, allowing photosynthesis to give each bulb extra energy to survive and rebloom the following winter.

However, once your fritillaria’s leaves are well and truly spent, cut this back to ground level and leave to go dormant over the winter period. With a bit of luck, your flowers will grow back the following spring and begin to multiply.

Don’t forget that fritillaria flowers add exceptional drama and exotic color to acut flower bouquet so don’t be shy in cutting smaller blooms to include in a homemade arrangement. The only variety to show restraint with is Crown Imperial, as cutting their stems can potentially impact the following season’s growth.

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As you can see, growing fritillaria at home isn’t just simple, it’s endlessly rewarding! Fritillaria is a gardener’s best-kept secret to turn an ordinary garden into an extraordinary wonderland. Find your perfect fritillaria variety and get planting to see for yourself!


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