Grow Pineapple Lilies For That Exotic Look

These exotic-looking flowers are Fritillaria imperialis, also known as Crown Imperials and Pineapple Lilies, are grown from bulbs. In common with daffodils and tulips the bulbs of Pineapple Lilies should be planted in fall so that they will bloom in the following spring. To learn more read this article by Kath LaLiberte which I found on the Longfield Gardens website.

I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to grow Fritillaria imperialis. I guess I thought these exotic-looking flowers would be difficult.  But now I can tell you: exotic they are, but difficult they’re not. Here are a few things to love about Fritillaria imperialis, also known as crown imperial or pineapple lilies.

Fritillari-imperialis - Longfield Gardens

The Basics About Fritillaria imperialis

When you see this bulb’s foliage, it’s pretty obvious that it’s in the lily family. You can also tell by looking at the bulbs. They have scales like a lily bulb, but the scales are fused rather than being loose. The bulbs are also almost twice the size of a regular lily bulb and much heavier.

Fritillaria imperialis - Longfield Gardens

When handling the bulbs, you’ll notice they have a peculiar smell. All parts of the plant emit this same slightly skunky odor. It’s what makes Fritillaria imperialis distasteful to garden pests including rabbits, voles, squirrels and deer.

Of course the most distinctive thing about Fritillaria imperialis is the flowers. Each bulb produces one perfectly straight, glossy black stem. On top is a crown of bell-like flowers and a crazy hairdo of foliage. Though the plants aren’t particularly tall (30-36″), their unusual appearance makes them an un-missable feature in the garden.


Crown imperials usually begin blooming in mid-spring, right after peak daffodil season. Every part of the show is entertaining — from bud to bloom — and the long-lasting flowers guarantee weeks of enjoyment.

See more at Longfield Gardens

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