Growing Guide
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Crown Imperial

Spring-Flowering Bulb

Fritillaria imperialis
Liliaceae Family

Exotic and tropical in appearance, the tall and stately Crown Imperial is a spectacular addition to the spring border. Each plant has one erect stem with whorls of glossy green leaves, topped with a whorl of tubular, pendulous blooms in shades of red, orange, or yellow.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil

Hardiness zones:

  • 5 to 9
Possibly hardy in Zone 4.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: moderately difficult

Height: 2 to 3 feet

Spread: 0.75 to 1 feet

Bloom time: mid-spring

Flower color:

  • red
  • orange
  • yellow

Blooms of the species are red-orange, but yellow and red varieties are also available.

Foliage color: medium green

Leaves are shiny.

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: upright

Upright stems with whorls of shiny leaves at intervals.

Shape in flower: flower stalks with flowers hanging downward

Pendulous, tubular, bell-like blooms borne in a whorl of 4 to 5 atop an erect stem. Blooms are topped with a tuft of leaf-like green bracts.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to Asia
  • fragrant - Foliage has a musky odor that some gardeners like and others strongly dislike. The odor is reputed to deter squirrels.
Special uses:
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by division or separation - Divide mature bulblets from the parent plant and replant in the fall. Plant bulbs 5 inches deep.

Maintenance and care:
Be sure to plant in very-well-drained soil as bulbs are very prone to rot. Can be planted on their sides or in coarse sand or perlite to reduce chances of rot.

More growing information: How to Grow Bulbs

'Lutea' has yellow blooms.

'Aurora' has deep orange/red blooms.

'Prolifera' has a double whorl of orange/red blooms.

'Rubra Maxima' has vivid red blooms.

'Aureomarginata' has green leaves with yellow striping and orange/red blooms.