Guinea Hen Flower, Chequered Lily, or Snakeshead Lily, all apply to this old fashioned plant. A half dozen bulbs would flower in my mother’s Long Island garden every spring and as I child I was fascinated by the oddly patterned bell shaped flowers dangling from slender stems among the grass-like leaves. The checkered, reddish-brown color is unusual and perhaps that is why I remember them so well. They are a wonderful addition to a rock garden, woodland garden, or naturalized areas.

Type: Spring bulb

Bloom: White, purple checkered or gray 2 “ side flowers are borne singly (sometimes 2-3) on slender stems in spring.

Size: 8-15” H x 6-8” W.

Light: Thrives in dappled shade; morning full sun.

Soil: Organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils.

Fertilizer: Apply general all purpose bulb fertilizer as plants emerge in spring and again after flowering.

Hardiness: Zones 3-8.

Care: Plant bulbs 3” deep and 3-4” apart in fall. Deadhead after flowering and remove foliage one it has turned yellow in early summer. Monitor soil moisture and water to prevent soil from drying out especially in summer.

Pests and Diseases: None of importance but is susceptible to rust and leaf spot.

Propagation: Divide offsets in late summer.

Companion plants: Virginia bluebells, primroses,  ferns.

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By Karen