Stinky but Pretty ‘Lilies’ – Fritillaria

I really like Fritillaria flowers – I consider them unique, but still pretty.  Some flowers are unique and strange looking, not necessarily pretty.  These, however, are a great addition to most flower beds.

I always recommend that you DO NOT plant Fritillaria near your front entrance or walkway.  Fritillaria bulbs and their flower emit a musky smell. This also makes them excellent for planting around other flowers that deer and rodents tend to like, because they do not care for their smell either! The good thing is that you really have to be close in order to smell them.

I had an interesting and funny conversation with a woman whose rats were destroying her vegetable garden.  She was looking for Fritillaria because her neighbors told her that is what they had planted to help keep the rats away.  (People I have dealt with usually struggled with deer, moles, rabbits or squirrels.)  I remember us chuckling that these are rodent deterrent bulbs and that rats are definitely rodents- just large ones! I just know if rats were ever to become an issue in my area, I would be planting hundreds of Fritillaria!

Fritillaria flowers come in a variety of heights and colors. Their height can range from 8″ to 39″ and blooms are found in red, orange, yellow, ivory, and purple.  They all somewhat resemble upside down bells, some which have many small bells per stem, a few large bells per stem or even one bell per stem.  They all grow wild and originally come from areas in the Mediterranean, Turkey, and Afghanistan.  Now they are cultivated mostly in Holland.  They thrive in areas with cold winters and sunny summers.  Most are hardy from zones 4-9.  They may require a tad more shade in warmer, more southern areas.

Generally all bulbs are sensitive to rot if they do not have good drainage.  Fritillaria are especially sensitive to rot.  Never plant in clay.  They also do not like you to move them.  I moved my Fritillaria Persica, never to be seen again.  🙁   So,  if you want them to naturalize and perennialize: plant them at proper depths, in good drainage soil, with lots of sun, and don’t move them.

I consider them a must have for any serious flower gardener- whether you have rodents or not!

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