Nature really comes up with the most fascinating things. The checkerboard flower is one such phenomenon. It is a real eye-catcher.
In 1993 the checkerboard flower (Fritillaria meleagris) was named Flower of the Year. It belongs to the lily family and shows a close relationship to the imperial crown. The checkered pattern of the bell-shaped flowers is the hallmark of this increasingly rare early bloomer. The natural range of the plant, also known as the lapwing egg, is in France, the Alpine foothills or the Balkans. In Central Europe, the plants do not seem to have their natural origin, but have multiplied through overgrowth or planting out. Unfortunately, the checkerboard flower has become a real exotic in the home garden, which is why every plant lover can only be advised to contribute to the preservation of the filigree plant with its sublime flowers by planting the checkerboard flower.
Despite their delicate and delicate appearance, the plants are poisonous. This affects not only the bulbs, but also all other parts of the plant. Most of the toxins are in the onions. These are to be kept safe from children and pets. In beds or tubs, you should make sure that children do not come into contact with the plant and pick it.
Find the right location
When choosing the location, it is worth taking a look at the natural distribution area of the checkerboard flower. The occurrence extends from Western Europe through Normandy to Romania. The plants are also isolated in Germany. The checkerboard flower is mainly found on wet meadows in Brandenburg and the Franconian region. The occurrence is largely limited to nature reserves.
When choosing a location, the most important thing is a damp floor. Pond edges or natural streams are ideal. Even if the plants prefer wet feet, waterlogging should not occur. You must therefore ensure that the soil is well drained.
The checkerboard flower is also very good in the rock garden or as an underplant for trees. Group plantings express the variety of flower colors particularly intensively. You can put up to 15 bulbs of the checkerboard flower on one square meter. However, direct plant neighbors like checkerboard flowers less. They much prefer to stand alone. Early bloomers such as snowdrops or Märzenbecher do well in the company of checkerboard flowers. You should still keep a planting distance of about half a meter.
The ideal location in brief:
- partial shade
- Unique or group plantings
Choose the ideal substrate
Even moisture is very important for the checkerboard flowers to thrive. However, there must be no waterlogging. If the irrigation water cannot drain, this attacks the onions, which ultimately start to rot. Therefore, make sure that the soil is well drained. You can do this by adding clay and coarse sand to the floor.
Checkerboard flowers generally get along well with a neutral floor. But they also tolerate a slightly acidic environment. You should upgrade barren soils with compost before planting so that the checkerboard flower receives enough nutrients from the start to grow well.
The right substrate in brief:
- well permeable
- neutral to slightly acidic
When is the best time to plant?
Since the bulbs of the chessboard flower have poor roots, late summer is the ideal time for planting. So the plants can still develop a stable root system before winter. Alternatively, you can plant the checkerboard flower in spring.
How to prepare the floor
First loosen the substrate and remove weeds, stones and old root remains. Since the checkerboard flower needs a nutrient-rich substrate, you should upgrade the soil accordingly. The addition of compost, guano or horn shavings ensures a rich long-term fertilizer and the plants can grow accordingly.
Tip: Sand provides a good base for planting the flower bulbs.
What should be considered when planting?
You should proceed quickly when planting. The bulbs of the checkerboard flower dry out quickly in the air. The planting depth is about eight centimeters. As a rule of thumb, the planting hole should be made twice as deep in proportion to the length of the flower bulb. Adequate irrigation is carried out quickly after planting.
Tip: In group plantings, the planting distance is about 30 centimeters.
- Select location.
- Loosen and prepare the substrate.
- Create planting holes.
- Use flower bulbs quickly.
- Close plant holes.
- Pour the soil well.
How to proceed after planting?
It is important that you keep the soil evenly moist. The substrate should always feel moist and should not dry out on the surface. If you plant the checkerboard flower in August, the roots begin to grow in September. So it takes a little patience for the bulbs to develop their roots.