CHOCOLATE CHEQUERED FRITILLARY
Syn. F. affinis
Fritillaria lanceolata (also known as Fritillaria affinis) bears large nodding bowls of chocolate-plum, boldly chequered with green and yellow.
Chocolate-plum bowls boldly chequered with green & yellow
The waxy flowers are of a very unusual colour and texture, with a silky sheen across the chocolate shades.
So they really catch the eye in spring and early summer with their uncommon beauty.
And well deserve the common name of Chocolate Chequered Fritillary.
Unusual treasure of a bulb
Fritillaria lanceolata is a stunning bulb, and treasured by gardeners who relish the unusual.
Grey-green, fine foliage is a also perfect foil for such weirdly wonderful flowers.
Easy to grow
Fortunately this beauty is an easy to grow bulb, despite it’s exotic and striking looks.
As long as you provide it’s preferred conditions.
So find a reasonably sunny spot, or perhaps a spot with some Dappled Shade if you live in an area with hot summers.
They like to dry out in summer and need only infrequent summer water while they are dormant. But they will not survive in waterlogged conditions.
Enjoys well drained soils & summer dry
Then enrich the soil with plenty of organic compost, but also ensure the soil drains very well.
So digging in some coarse sand, as well as compost or humus, in the planting spot is a very good idea.
No need to ever dig or replant – just leave to multiply
Then you can leave the bulbs undisturbed for many years, and there is no need to ever dig and replant them. They will multiply with off-set bulbs each year.
Plus they will gently self-sow seeds each year, if you have given them their happy place, to create a little grove of exotic beauties.
Native to oak or pine woodlands
Fritillaria lanceolata grows naturally in open glades amongst oak or pine trees, from the coast to the hills down the west of North America.
It thrives in California. So it does equally well in parts of Australia with similar climate, and sandy to loam soils.
It is not a thirsty plant and cannot bear to be waterlogged.
And very handy for planting where you have oak or pine trees of course.
Rabbit and deer resistant
I may turn violent if the munching monsters attacked my Fritillaria lanceolata, but fortunately they are unpalatable to those nocturnal enemies.
Frost hardy bulb.
Flower stems can reach a stunning 90cm to 1.2m. High with large, chequered bowls of blooms x 20cm Wide of fine, grey-green foliage.
SEED SOWING ADVICE:
Sow in punnets indoors during autumn/winter/spring.
Seeds need a period of cold to break dormancy.
Sow indoors for maximum germination: First sow the seeds in a punnet on the surface of good quality seed raising mix.
Then gently press the seeds to the surface of the mix to ensure good contact.
Now barely cover the seeds with mix/grit/sand.
Then place the sown punnet into a water bath (make sure the water level in the bath is below the surface of the mix).
So the moisture percolates up through the mix from the bottom to thoroughly moisten the mix throughout.
Soak for a short time until moisture appears on the surface of the mix, and then remove and drain.
Because the mix needs to be moist throughout, but not wet.
Now cling wrap the moist, sown punnet, and place in the fridge (not freezer) for 6 weeks.
This is needed to break the natural dormancy of the seeds and develop the embroyo.
After the period of chilling in the fridge, unwrap the punnet, re-moisten, and place the punnet in an unheated, cool, light place.
Temperatures of 10-15C are ideal for germination.
Seedlings begin to emerge in approx. 30 days.
But do not discard the punnet too quickly, as it is natural for the seeds of Fritillaria lanceolata to come individually and at erratic intervals.
So some seeds will come later, because it is a big advantage for survival in the wild, for the plant to germinate erratically over a period of time.
Seed Count: 10 seeds per pack approx. (Seed is not often available).
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