How to Grow Fritillaria

Updated November 21, 2016

Fritillaria come in many colours, from scarlet to yellow and white, and even in some interesting and eye-catching patterns, like the checkered lilies (Fritillaria meleagris). These bell-shaped flowers have bowed heads, and are more often found in formal gardens or botanical garden rather than home gardens. This doesn't mean they're particularly hard to grow, and they can make a beautiful addition to your own garden, adding not only colour, but eye-catching interest. Fritillaria are also rabbit and deer resistant, and will grow in full sun or part shade.

Plant your fritillaria in autumn, as this is when they will develop their roots for blooming in spring.

Prepare a location with well-drained, moist soil, as the fritillarias won't grow in soil that is waterlogged, but they do like moisture. Amend your soil with organic materials like peat moss, compost or decomposed manure to improve drainage. Creating a raised bed can also make a site more drainage friendly.

Use a spade to dig your holes about 2 or 3 inches deep, and about 3 inches apart when planting most species. For larger species, such as crown imperial or yellow fritillaria, make your holes 10 inches deep and 7 inches apart. The larger plants need more room.

Plant the smaller bulbs so that the hole is pointing upward, although with the larger species it's best to plant them on their sides. This prevents water from getting into their hollow centre and causing the plant to rot.

Water the bed thoroughly after planting to give the bulbs a jump-start in producing roots.


Fritillarias can grow well in containers if they are kept moist and fed fertiliser high in potassium.


Some people find the smell of fritillarias to be unpleasant, in which case planting them as a back border can mitigate the smell and still allow you to have fritillaria in your garden. Fritillaria bulbs can produce a tingly sensation in the skin of people who are sensitive, so it's best to wear gloves when working with the bulbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost, peat moss or decomposed manure
  • Spade
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About the Author

Marion Sipe has been a freelance writer, poet and fantasy novelist since 2000. Her work appears in online publications including LIVESTRONG.COM and eHow Home and Garden. Her fiction has been publish in Alienskin Magazine, Alternatives, and the Flash! anthology. Homeschooled, she spent her youth flitting around the country.