How to Grow Kamchatka Fritillary

Fritillaria camschatcensis aka Kamchatka fritillary in bloom. image by James


Kamchatka fritillary is known botanically as fritillaria camschatcensis and more commonly as rice lily, black lily or skunk lily. It is a flowering perennial herb famous for the putrid odor of its chocolate brown bloom. Kamchatka fritillary blooms up from a small scale covered bulb in May through July in moist areas from lower land tidal flats up through mountainous meadows.

Step 1

Select a planting location for your kamchatka fritillaria where it ideally will have easy draining, loamy soil. It will adapt readily to most kinds of garden soil save very heavy clay that water does not percolate through easily. Bury the bulbs between 4 inches and 5 inches deep at 6-inch intervals. Lean the bulb roughly 45 degrees off-center to prevent water sitting in the depression at the top of the bulb and rotting it.

Step 2

Plant in a location where your fritillaria will receive a full sun, partial daily shade or filtered shade exposure. Also consider a planting location that will provide some protection from strong drying or chilling winds.

Step 3

Water your fritillaria so the the soil around the bulb is always evenly moist but not soaking wet. Use the touch test by reaching your finger an inch down into the soil to determine when to water. When it feels just lightly moist it is time to water. Never let the surrounding soil or the bulb itself dry out.

Step 4

Feed your bulbs in the spring with a granular bulb fertilizer applied according to the label directions and water in well. Feed the fritillary a second time in the early fall to recharge the bulb for future bloom.

Step 5

Dig up and divide the bulbs in the late fall before frost and then immediately replant them so they do not dry out. Holding the excavated bulb, dust off excess soil and gently break the new side bulbs off the main bulb and replant each individually at an increased distance apart to allow for next years bulb spread.

Things You'll Need

  • Kamchatka fritllary bulb
  • Hand trowel
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Bulb fertilizer


  • Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
  • Northwest Native Plants
Keywords: kamchatka frittillary, flowering lily bulb, rice lily

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.

Photo by: James