Crown Imperial Fritillaria: How To Grow Crown Imperial Plants

crown imperial
Image by lindmon

By Liz Baessler

Crown imperial plants (Fritillaria imperialis) are lesser-known perennials that make for a striking border for any garden. Keep reading to learn more about growing crown imperial flowers.

Crown Imperial Flowers

Crown imperial plants are native to Asia and the Middle East and are hardy in USDA zones 5-9. They are distinguished by 1- to 3-foot tall erect stalks topped with pointed leaves and a circular collection of hanging, bell-shaped flowers. These flowers come in shades of red, orange, and yellow, depending upon variety.

  • The flowers of the Lutea variety are yellow.
  • The flowers of the Aurora, Prolifer, and Aureomarginata are all an orange/red color.
  • Rubra Maxima has bright red blossoms.

While beautiful and interesting, crown imperial flowers have an added dimension that’s good or bad, depending upon who you are: they have a strong, musky scent about them, a bit like a skunk. This is good for keeping rodents out of your garden bed, which everyone likes. It’s also a smell that gardeners tend to love or hate. If you’re sensitive to strong scents, it might be a good idea to smell a mature crown imperial before planting your own and possibly setting yourself up for a bad time.

How to Grow Crown Imperial Plants


As with other fritillaria bulbs, crown imperial fritillaria should be planted in autumn for mid-spring blooms. At four inches wide, crown imperial bulbs are unusually large. They are also prone to rot, so make sure to plant them in very well-drained soil. Grainy sand or perlite are good materials to plant into.

Start the bulbs on their sides to further reduce risk of rot. Bury them five inches deep in the autumn in an area that will receive full sun in the spring. At full maturity, the plants will spread to 8-12 inches wide.

The plants can be vulnerable to rust and leaf spot, but are very good at repelling pests. Once established, Fritillaria imperialis care is minimal.

Print This Article
This article was last updated on
Did you find this helpful?
Share it with your friends!

Additional Help & Information

Didn't find the answer to your question? Ask one of our friendly gardening experts.

Do you know anything about gardening? Help answer someone's gardening question.

Read more articles about Fritillaria.

Search for more information

Use the search box below to find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: