Grow Persian Lily Flowers for Dark Garden Drama

This little-known perennial offers lots of benefits. The tall flowers on Persian lily will be a show-stopping focal point in your borders.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Persian Lily Care

Persian lilyMarcus Lindstrom/Getty Images
These spring blooming bulbs will put on a spectacular show.
  • Common name: Persian lily
  • Scientific name: Fritillaria persica
  • Zones 4 to 8
  • Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil needs: Well-draining

Persian lily flowers provide vertical interest to a spring garden, with 20 to 30 dark plum, bell-shaped blooms lining up in alternating rows on slender sturdy stalks.

Though around since 1573, this perennial is still not widely planted in U.S. gardens. This unique member of the lily family is native to Middle Eastern countries.

The blue-gray, rabbit- and deer-resistant foliage alone makes it worth growing. Grow them en masse for a dramatic effect in your garden borders.

Persian lily (fritillaria persica) flowersTom Meaker/Getty Images
Look for a cream colored variety such as Ivory Bells.

Plant the bulbs pointy side up, approximately 5 to 7 inches deep, during fall before the ground freezes. Choose a spot with well-draining soil and full sun to part shade for the best results. The bulbs may rot in overly wet and soggy soils. However, they are a good choice for growing near black walnut trees.

Check out the top 10 bulbs to plant in fall that you aren’t growing yet.

Benefits of Growing Persian Lily

Persian lilyShutterstock / wjarek
Each tall stem produces a cluster with dozens of flowers

From mid-to-late spring Persian lily puts on quite a show with its flowers, which range from deep purple to cream. For especially vibrant color, try growing the exotic looking variety Green Dreams.

The flowers can tower over the garden, maxing out at 3 feet tall. Each stalk holds dozens of blossoms that butterflies and other pollinators love.

Persian Lilies amongst Tulips.Hans Verburg/Getty Images
Persian lilies pair well with tulips in spring flower gardens.

It’s an excellent cut flower, adding drama to bouquets and floral arrangements. These perennials are low-maintenance, just watch out for slug and snail damage on the foliage. Pair them with yellow and white tulips for a gorgeous complimentary color display.

Next, learn how to grow Oriental lilies and Asiatic lilies.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.