Fritillaria messanensis ssp. gracilis
Slender-leaf Balkan Fritillary
Item #: 11637
Zones: 7a to 9b, at least
Dormancy: Winter, Summer, Fall
Height: 16" tall
Culture: Sun to Part Sun
Origin: Albania, Balkans, Bosnia, Croatia, Italy, Serbia
Pot Size: 3.5" pot (24 fl. oz/0.7 L) ?
We've killed more fritillarias than Kim Jong-un has dissidents, so we are delighted to share one species that actually thrives for us. Fritillaria messanensis ssp. gracilis is a seriously cute Balkan native that we saw in situ during our 2012 expedition in Croatia. In the wild, it grew in very dry, rocky, alkaline clay soils among dense shrubs. In the garden, it has proven amazingly easy to cultivate...a rarity for us and the genus fritillaria. Starting for us in late March, the clusters of 1-3 finger-sized caramel-colored bells with golden insides, dangle from the 16" tall glaucous stems. Like other spring ephemerals, Fritillaria messanensis ssp. gracilis has gone to sleep for the summer by June. In cultivation, Fritillaria messanensis ssp. gracilis is often incorrectly labeled as Fritillaria acmopetala. Bright sun and good drainage seem to be the only prerequisites for success.