Crown Imperial, also known by its other common name ‘Fritillaria imperialis’ is a beautiful spring bulb that belongs to the Liliaceae (lily) family. It is an extremely decorative and an ornamental kind of flowering bulb that has gained massive popularity since ancient times.
The plant grows to an average height of 8 to 40 inches and its flowering or blooming period begins in April and ends in June. Some of its key growing requirements include full sun or partial shade, along with ordinary but well-drained soil.
Crown Imperial is native to Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Iraq and once used to be called as Persian Lily (Lilium Persicum). The Latin word ‘imperialis’ in the plant’s common name literally translates to “of the emperor.” This word is a reference to the large, beautiful circle of flowers which carry such massive resemblance to the emperor’s crown.
The plant has long been popular due to its spectacular display red, yellow, and orange bell-shaped flowers. These colorful and vibrant bursts are topped by a rich crown of glossy foliage that creates a perfect canvas of nature and also a stunning contrast against the pendant flowers.
Historical Evolution of the Crown Imperial Flowers
Interestingly, it was once believed that the large petals of the Crown Imperial were turned upwards towards the sun. According to a legend of those times, these petals looked up to the sun and boasted a stunning white color. It is believed that on the night of Christ’s death, all flowers except Crown Imperials bowed their heads down in sorrow. Soon after, however, it is believed that these very flowers were overcome by guilt and shame as a result of which they blushed and their petals turned into a crimson shade.
Ever since that sorrowful day, the head of these flowers has always faced the ground. It is also believed that the plant hasn’t been able to stop producing remorseful tears, which are characterized by the drop of nectar that forms on the base of each petal when the plant reaches its full blooming period. Apparently, that drop of nectar never dries which is a way of saying that the flowers have been crying ever since that day.
Different Varieties of Crown Imperial Flowers
There are seven main varieties or cultivars of the Crown Imperial Flower, each of which has distinctive features and characteristics.
Fritillaria Imperialis ‘Aurora’
This is a beautiful bulbous herbaceous perennial that grows up to 2-3 feet or about 60-90 cm tall. Its hardiness zones range from 5a to 8b and the blooming period of the plant begins during mid spring, lasting all the way to late spring.
The Aurora crown imperial plant produces a gorgeous display of bell-shaped, pendant flowers that sport a breathtaking, bright golden-orange color. The flowers further boast a crown of small, lush green leaves that extend from the bottom of its upright stem and then transform into beautiful, glossy lance-shaped leaves. The leaves appear in intervals on the stem that makes them look quite pretty with the rich orange flowers.
This plant grows best in full sun as well as in partially shaded conditions during the fall season. When growing in warmer climate zones, it is important to give them some shade in order for it to grow to its average height. It particularly requires well-drained soils that can be moist, moderately fertile or even sandy. No matter what the soil type is, it should just be properly drained. However, in the case of heavy soil, it will need extra copious amounts of sand for it to drain thoroughly.
The plant is incredibly deer and rabbit resistant, probably because the flowers produced by this plant give off a very musky scent and they also contain large drops of nectar which is what drives the animals away. It is most popularly grown in different types of gardens such as cottage gardens, city and courtyard and traditional gardens for the purpose of flower beds and borders
Fritillaria Imperialis ‘The Premier’
The Premier Crown Imperial is quite an impressive plant that grows to an average height ranging between 24 to 36 inches. It is best known for its large, beautiful blooms that adopt a soft tangerine color with light purple veins that stand out amid the orange petals. Atop the stunning flowers is a striking display of lush, green leaves that grow in quite an upright manner.
This plant has always drawn significant attention to gardens and there is no doubt about the fact that it makes an amazing addition to any garden bed. It consists of the typical bulbous herbaceous perennial features that are also shared by a variety of other types of crown imperial flowers.
The blooming period of this plant begins during the mid spring season and lasts for almost 2 to 3 weeks. A great thing about the Premier crown imperial plant is that it will continue to flower on a year-after-year in the exact same location, given that is provided with the ideal growing conditions. Some of its key requirements for successful growth include proper and well-drained soils that may be sandy, chalky or loamy. It also requires full sun to grow, but can also adapt to partially shaded growing conditions.
In terms of watering requirements, it needs to be watered once during a period of two weeks. The soil must6 be kept dry between each watering session because too much water can destroy the plant as it is highly prone to rotting.
This type of crown imperial flower has very showy and fragrant characteristics which make it ideal to be grown in cottage gardens and even in your home’s backyard.
Fritillaria Imperialis ‘Rubra Maxima’
If you are looking to plant something in your garden that is incredibly large and busts open with an incredible, magnificent force, the Rubra Maxima crown imperial is the perfect choice for you. It is a statuesque herbaceous perennial that originated back in the 1590s and since then, it has been a much-loved and popular choice of plant to grow in gardens and courtyards.
The Rubra Maxima crown imperial flower produces a mesmerizing display of bell-shaped, pendant flowers that boast a beautiful caramelized orange-red color. These striking clusters of flowers are topped by small green leaves that form a crown-like shape. As the leaves reach the highest point on the upper part of the stem, they adopt a rich, glossy appearance and also become more lance-shaped.
The flushed red, burnt orange flowers are the most prominent and attractive feature of this plant, coupled with a delicate veining that is prominent amid the upright foliage. Unlike other crown imperial varieties, the detailing on the Rubra Maxima is quite beautiful and intricate. If you l0ook closely, you will notice that each flower on the stem of the plant hazy nectaries that are edged with a hazy garnet pattern. These nectaries are shaped quite like human eyes and are intricately covered with long, very prominent and decorative pistils and stamen.
This plant grows to an average height that ranges between 40 to 44 inches. It begins blooming during the spring season and continues to bloom for nearly three weeks. Like almost all other types of crown imperial flowers, this also requires perfectly well-drained soils that aren’t too wet since the plant doesn’t thrive well in wet or super moist soils.
Fritillaria Imperialis ‘Bach’
This is yet another bulbous perennial belonging to the lily family that is well-known for its dwarf size. It grows to an average height of 24 to inches and its blooming period ranges from mid spring to late spring.
The Bach crown imperial produces bell-shaped, pendulous, bright red flowers with subtle shades of orange in between that make it look incredibly elegant and pretty. A crown of glossy, lance-shaped leaves covers these stunning bulbs flower bulbs and perfectly complements it.
This plant prefers growing under the full sun but can also thrive under partial shade, especially in warmer climates and regions. Its water needs are fairly low and it just has to be watered once in two weeks. However, the plant is extremely particular about the type of soil it grows in. The soil types can range from chalky, loamy and sandy, but the most important thing is that it should be well-drained and should contain the ideal amount of moisture that is required for the plant’s successful growth.
Like many other types of crown imperial flowers, the Bach also often releases a very powerful musky scent that makes the plant highly deer resistant and rabbit resistant. However, it does attract bees to a great extent, which is why you probably must have noticed a swarm of bees buzzing around the flowers if you have this plant in your garden or backyard.
Fritillaria Imperialis ‘Maxima Lutea’
This is one of the most popular types of crown imperial flowers that belong to the Liliaceae family. It is amazingly beautiful and a highly impressive bulbous herbaceous perennial that is largely characterized by its dramatic crowns of bright yellow pendant flowers that are shaped like a bell.
The Maxima Lutea crown imperial flower is quite an exotic hardy perennial that looks mesmerizing when planted along garden borders or flower beds. The beautiful pendulous flowers of this plant are crowned by a whirl of leaf-like bracts where the green and yellow strike against each other in a splendid contrast.
This plant is simply ideal to be planted at the back of the borders given its incredible height, however, it6 looks even better when you grow the plant in groups and once the growing season ends, it will produce an amazingly colorful and an eye-catching display in your garden, the beauty of which will truly blow you away. There is just one downside of this plant that is its plant bulbs release a very foxy aroma that greatly rodents and moles.
It grows to an average height of 1.5m and produces quite an erect stem. This stem bears pale and narrow green leaves with clusters of the bright yellow flowers. The blooming season of this plant begins in mid springs and lasts for approximately three weeks. It grows best in moderately fertile, moist and sandy soils, all of which should be exceptionally well-drained in order to produce the best results. It also needs full sun to grow to its maximum and in some regions, it can also make-do with partially shaded conditions.
This plant is quite a popular choice among many garden enthusiasts because you can easily spot this plant even from afar, thanks to its big, rich and bright yellow flowers that hoist a crown of plush green foliage.
Fritillaria Imperialis ‘Brahms’
Most varieties of the crown imperial flower are highly noted and popular for their unique and distinctively colored flowers, and so is the case with the Maxima Lutea crown imperial flower. It is highly characterized by its bright and beautiful salmon-pink flowers that appear in bell-shaped clusters. These blossoming flowers are covered by a crown of glossy, lance-shaped leaves that grow atop the flowers and rise at the end of the upright stem of this plant.
This plant is quite a hardy perennial that grows best in fertile, sandy, and neutral types of sands. The soil has to be moist but really well-drained since this is one of its very key growing requirements. Unlike other varieties, the flowers of this plant are unscented and do not produce any strong fragrance which means that it is not deer-resistant or rabbit-resistant at all.
The Brahms crown imperial flower comes with very special and precise caring and growing tips. It needs to be watered regularly and thoroughly throughout its growing and blooming period, except when it’s dormant. During the autumn season, it is essential to cover them with mulch till the end of the season, after which you need to replace the mulch with compost as soon as the spring season arrives.
You can also grow these plants in pots if you don’t have a proper garden. One important thing to keep in mind when planting potted Fritillaria is that you should either keep the pot in a large container or you can sink it directly into the border.
Fritillaria Imperialis ‘Beethoven’
With its gorgeous creamy orange flowers that sit on a dusky purple base, the Beethoven crown imperial flower has caught the eyes of many by its unbelievable beauty and splendor. It is an herbaceous perennial that is quite compact and is popularly known for its dwarf size. It is the perfect type of Fritillaria Imperialis plant for all those who are looking who love these species but were looking to plant something shorter in their garden.
This plant produces a unique leafy crown that boasts bright and lush green foliage. The greenness offers a spectacular contrast against the delicate orange flowers and that is likely to turn a few heads their way! It blooms in great abundance during the mid-spring season and reaches an average height of 24 inches.
Interestingly, this particular variety of the crown imperial was one of the first to be cultivated and its origin dates back to the 1600s. While this plant is an excellent option to be planted in garden beds and borders, it is extremely deer-resistant due to its strong skunky scent. This is one of the reasons why it is best to plant them in perennial borders or even near shrub-growing areas where the prominent scent doesn’t cause any problem for those surrounding it.
This plant is a little sensitive to water-retentive soil so it is very essential to provide them with proper drainage with the help of well-drained soils. The flowers of this plant appear in spectacular bulb-like groupings that you can see growing on a bed of pineapple-like green leafy bract. When grown in a garden, the flowers of this plant blend together beautifully well with other flowering bulbs, especially daffodils and tulips.
Crown Imperial flowers are truly rich, magnificent and beautiful and you must plant them in your garden for a stunning cascading landscape of flowers bursting with gorgeous colors!