White Snake's Head Fritillary
- Colour: White
- Height: 30 cms
- Scent: None
- Flowering: April/May
- Bulb Size: 5-6 cms
- Planting Depth: 12/15 cms deep
- Planting Months: Sept/Nov
- RHS Award of Garden Merit
Fritillaria meleagris Alba
White Snakes Head Fritillaries carry beautifully shaped, pure white flowers between March and May, depending on location. These are usually solitary but where the plant is especially happy and the bulb is large, there can be multiple flowers which like those of the more common Snakeshead Fritillary are pendulous, rather "square-shouldered" and bell-shaped and can be up to 4.5cm (1.75in) long. The flower stem is about 30 cm tall. The blooms are accompanied by alternate, pointed, greyish-green leaves shaped like blades of grass up to 15 cm (6") long.
Fritillaria meleagris is one of the plants in our range of spring flowering bulbs that naturalises well in grass and along the edges of hedgerows and woodland. It multiplies by division and self-seeds when it is happy. All Snakeshead Fritillaries prefer moist soil with a reasonable organic matter content and do best in dappled shade.
Fritillaria in Short
- Flower Colour: White
- Height: 30 cm
- Scent: None
- Flowering: March-May
- Bulb Size: 5-6cm
- Planting Depth: 12-15 cm
- Planting Months: September-November
- Position: Dapples shade, under hedges. Good in longer grass
- RHS AGM
The name derives from the Latin word fritillus which is a dice-box which the flower's shape somewhat resembles. Not to be confused, of course, with Fritillary butterflies which were probably named thus because their markings bear some resemblance to those on dice.
Plant Snakeshead Fritillaries in borders with some shade, on the edge of woodland and grassy areas where they naturalise well. They prefer moister soils that are broadly neutral in terms of pH and that contains a reasonable amount of organic matter.
The bulbs should be planted about 12-15 cm (5-6") deep preferably in a spot where they will undisturbed as they take a moment to settle in and until they are overcrowded and need sub-division, seem to think that one move is enough...
Water in dry spring weather as flowering is much better if the bulbs are plump. If you want your plants to spread and naturalise, then do not dead-head as Snakeshead Fritillaries spread as well by self-seeding as by their bulbs dividing. If you are growing them in grass, let the foliage die back naturally for at least 8 weeks before mowing.