Crown Imperial Fritillaria imperialis 'Lutea'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
crown imperial 'Lutea'


The Crown Imperial, known by its distinguished varietal name 'Lutea', is a striking plant graced with a unique and regal bearing. Crowned with a tuft of vibrant green leaves at its peak, the plant's true spectacle lies in the umbrella-shaped whorl of bell-shaped flowers that hang with an elegant droop. These blossoms are a cheerful yellow, emitting a warm, sunny hue that contrasts boldly with the glossy foliage. The plant carries a commanding presence, commanding the attention of any onlooker with both its color and distinctive structure. It emanates an aroma that, while not universally appreciated, is certainly distinctive, adding another layer to its complex character. In essence, the Crown Imperial 'Lutea' provides a dramatic and almost theatrical display of color and form in the landscape.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Crown Imperial, Imperial Fritillary, Kaiser's Crown.

    • Common names

      Fritillaria imperialis 'Lutea'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as Crown Imperial can be toxic to humans if ingested. It contains alkaloids such as imperialin which can cause symptoms of poisoning. Although not commonly ingested due to its unappealing taste and the fact that it's primarily an ornamental plant, if someone were to eat parts of the Crown Imperial, they could experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and abdominal pain. Ingesting large quantities could potentially lead to more severe health problems, so it is advised to handle the plant with care and keep it out of reach of children who might accidentally ingest part of the plant.

    • To pets

      The Crown Imperial is also toxic to pets. The alkaloids present in the plant can cause similar symptoms in pets as they do in humans if ingested. For pets, this could include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and potential lethargy. Depending on the size of the pet and the amount ingested, the reaction can be more severe and could potentially be life-threatening. Care should be taken to ensure that pets do not have access to this plant to avoid accidental poisoning.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3 feet (91 cm)

    • Spread

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic appeal: The plant bears striking yellow flowers that add a unique and regal visual interest to gardens.
    • Pollen and nectar source: The blooms provide pollen and nectar for bees and other pollinators during the flowering season.
    • Vertical interest: Its tall stature can add vertical dimension and structure to garden beds and landscapes.
    • Spring interest: It blooms in the spring, filling the seasonal gap when many other plants are not yet in flower.
    • Diverse landscaping: The Crown Imperial can be used in a variety of garden settings including borders, rockeries, and as a focal point.
    • Deer resistance: Fritillaria imperialis is known for being less palatable to deer, which may help to protect other garden plants.
    • Rodent deterrence: The plant's bulbs are reputed to deter rodents, offering a natural way to protect gardens from these pests.
    • Perennial growth: As a perennial, it returns year after year, providing long-term value for the garden.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • The Crown Imperial bulb scales can be used to repel moles and rodents due to their pungent smell that mimics that of foxes, a natural predator to these garden pests.
    • The striking appearance of the Crown Imperial makes it a popular choice for educational purposes in horticultural schools and botany departments when teaching about unique bulb structures and growth patterns.
    • In regions where the Crown Imperial is native, it has historically been used as a symbol in heraldry and family crests, representing power and majesty due to its crown-like appearance.
    • Its tall, commanding presence and bright coloration make the Crown Imperial a popular choice for focal points in landscape design, particularly in formal gardens.
    • The Crown Imperial can be used in natural dyeing processes; the yellow-flowered 'Lutea' variety in particular may yield warm, yellowish hues.
    • The plant's unique shape and height add an architectural element to floral arrangements and are often used by florists for creating dramatic, tall centerpieces.
    • Some cultures have used the sap and bulb extracts from Crown Imperial as a natural adhesive for small crafts and artworks, though this is not a well-documented use.
    • The bulbs of the Crown Imperial are sometimes used as a traditional educational tool for demonstrating plant propagation techniques to amateur gardeners and students.
    • With its sturdy stems, Crown Imperials can act as natural supports for weaker-stemmed plants when strategically planted in mixed borders or flower beds.
    • The distinctive crown-like tuft of leaves atop the flowers of the Crown Imperial can inspire artists and designers, influencing patterns and motifs in textiles and decorative arts.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Crown Imperial is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Crown Imperial is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Royalty: The name 'imperialis' suggests imperial or regal qualities, and the plant often symbolizes majesty and high status due to its crown-like appearance.
    • Power: The striking and prominent blooms of the Crown Imperial convey a sense of authority and command, indicative of power and strength.
    • Pride: The tall and upright stature of this plant can represent pride and self-assuredness.
    • Resilience: As a hardy perennial that returns year after year, it can symbolize perseverance and the ability to withstand adversity.

When soil is dry
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Crown Imperial requires consistent moisture during the spring growing season, but it doesn't like to be waterlogged. Water the plant deeply once a week, providing about 1 to 2 gallons per plant, ensuring the water reaches the roots without drenching the foliage. During the summer, as the plant goes dormant, reduce watering significantly, and allow the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent bulb rot. In autumn, start increasing water slightly to support root growth before the ground freezes if you're in a region with cold winters.

  • sunLight

    Crown Imperials thrive in full sunlight to partial shade. They will do best when provided with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. An ideal spot would be a garden location that receives plenty of morning sunlight with some afternoon shade to protect from the intense late-day sun in hotter climates.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Crown Imperials prefer temperate climates and can tolerate temperatures typically ranging from 25°F to 75°F. They require a chilling period with temperatures between 35°F and 55°F to properly break dormancy and initiate spring growth. The ideal growing temperature once they break dormancy is between 60°F to 70°F.

  • scissorsPruning

    Crown Imperials do not require extensive pruning, but removing spent flowers after blooming can promote plant health. Prune in late spring or early summer once the flowers have faded, cutting the stem back to the base. It's not necessary to prune the foliage until it yellows and dies back naturally, at which point it can be cut down to ground level.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed.

  • bambooSoil

    Crown Imperial ('Lutea') requires a well-draining soil mix with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. A mixture of loam, sand or perlite, and compost or well-rotted manure would create an ideal environment for this bulbous plant, ensuring rich fertility and good drainage to prevent bulb rot.

  • plantRepotting

    Crown Imperial ('Lutea') bulbs should be repotted every 3 to 5 years or when they become overcrowded. It's best to repot them after the foliage has died back in late summer or early fall, giving the bulbs a chance to re-establish themselves before winter.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Crown Imperial ('Lutea') tolerates average outdoor humidity levels well, but does not require high humidity. It thrives best when humidity is not excessively high, which can encourage rot, making typical outdoor conditions suitable for this plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, cool temps, and pot with drainage.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun to part shade, in fertile soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Crown Imperial 'Lutea', a perennial bulbous plant, begins its life cycle when the bulb is planted in well-drained soil during the autumn. With the onset of spring, a stout stem emerges, bearing lance-shaped, glossy leaves and a whorl of bell-shaped, yellow flowers crowned with a tuft of leaf-like bracts, hence the name "Crown Imperial". After flowering, typically in mid to late spring, the plant's energy is directed back into the bulb as the foliage and flower stem wither away. During summer, the bulb lies dormant underground, tolerating the dry conditions it prefers. In the autumn, the cycle restarts as the bulb generates new roots in preparation for the next spring's growth. Over the years, with proper care, the bulb can multiply, leading to a gradual increase in the number of flowering stems.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • Propogation: The Crown Imperial, scientifically known as Fritillaria imperialis 'Lutea', is primarily propagated through bulb division. This method is a popular choice due to its simplicity and effectiveness. The best time for propagating Crown Imperials by dividing bulbs is in the late summer or early fall, after the foliage has died back but before the ground freezes. To do this, carefully dig up the bulbs, gently separate the smaller offset bulbs that have formed around the base of the mother bulb, and replant them at a depth of about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters). These offsets will then grow into new plants that can flower in the following years. It's important to allow the newly planted bulbs to establish roots before the winter comes, ensuring their survival and growth in the spring.