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Plant of the Month: Fritillaria meleagris

By Ransoms | 4th April 2024 | 3 min read

The snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) is a charming bulbous perennial that brings a touch of elegance to the spring garden. Native to Europe and western Asia, this easy-to-grow flower boasts a unique checkered pattern that’s sure to catch the eye.

Standing around 30cm tall, the snake’s head fritillary features slender stems topped with 1-2 bell-shaped, drooping flowers. These blooms are typically a dull purple adorned with a delicate checkered pattern of pale pink or white, with other variations being reddish-brown or fully white. The name “snake’s head” comes from the slightly pointed shape of the flower bud and the scaley looking pattern, but thankfully, the resemblance ends there!

This delightful plant thrives in moist, well-drained soil in areas with full sun to partial shade. Planting the bulbs in autumn allows them to establish themselves before winter sets in. Once settled, they’ll grace your garden year after year, often multiplying to form cheerful little colonies.

The snake’s head fritillary isn’t just beautiful, it’s also beneficial to wildlife. Bees and other pollinators flock to its blooms, drawn by the sweet nectar and pollen they offer.

While a common sight in British gardens, the snake’s head fritillary is considered rare in many parts of its native range. So why not add this fascinating flower to your garden and enjoy its checkered charm while providing a haven for pollinators?


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