Growing Guide
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Checkered Lily

Spring-Flowering Bulb

Also known as Snake's Head Fritillary , Guinea Hen Flower
Fritillaria meleagris
Liliaceae Family

One of the most unusual plants in the springitme garden, Checkered Lily bears striking, boxy, pendulous maroon blooms with paler purple spotting in a checkerboard pattern. With grassy foliage and a loose, open growth habit, it is especially attractive in grassy naturalized areas.

Site Characteristics
  • part shade

Soil conditions:

  • requires damp soil
Prefers moist, rich soil. Do not allow soil to dry out, even when dormant.

Hardiness zones:

  • 3 to 8
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 0.75 to 1 feet

Spread: 0.25 to 0.5 feet

Bloom time: mid-spring

Flower color:

  • violet
  • white
  • other

Blooms are usually deep violet/maroon, with pale violet spotting in a checkerboard pattern. There are also white forms, with green markings.

Foliage color: medium green

Foliage texture: medium


  • upright
  • grass-like

Shape in flower:

  • flower stalks with flowers as cups
  • flower stalks with flowers hanging downward

Blooms hang from erect flower stems rising above the foliage and have a boxy cup-like shape.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • aggressive - Spreads easily by seed. Best grown in naturalized settings where it can freely roam.
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to Europe
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, division or separation - Divide mature bulblets from the parent plant and replant in moist soil. Collect fresh seeds and sow out in a tray. Transplant when they reach a mangeable size.

Maintenance and care:
Do not allow soil to dry out, even when plants are dormant.

More growing information: How to Grow Bulbs

'Aphrodite': pure white blooms.

'Charon': purple blooms.

'Saturnus': red/purple blooms.