How to Grow Sternbergia Plants

Guide to Growing Winter daffodil, Yellow Autumn Crocus, and Lily-of-the-field.

The Sternbergia genus are grown from hardy bulbs in the garden. They are able to reach about 15 cm (6 inches) in height.

Common names include Winter Daffodils and Yellow Autumn Crocus; visit here for information on how to grow daffodils.

Sternbergia bloom in the autumn with Yellow or White crocus-like flowers.

Sternbergia by Stephen Hopkins63.

Sternbergia Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Winter daffodil, Yellow Autumn crocus, Fall daffodil, Lily-of-the-field.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy bulb.
  • Height: 6 inches (15 cm).
  • Native: Mediterranean, and Central Asia.
  • Growing Region: Zones 7 to 10. Zone 6 as an Half-hardy bulb, provide shelter.

  • Flowers: Autumn (except for Sternbergia vernalis and Sternbergia candida which flower in late winter/spring).
  • Flower Details: Gold/yellow, white. Fragrant. Goblet-shaped crocus-like flowers.
  • Foliage: Grey-green, deep green. Strap-like. Clump forming.

  • Growing Outside: Usually grown from bulblets or propagated by division.
    Seeds: Cover seed. Late summer. Germination temperature: ~63°F (17°C).
    Bulbs: 4 inches (10 cm). End of summer and autumn. Space at 4 to 6 inches (10—15 cm).

  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight or partial shade. Good drainage. Fertile soil. Gritty. Regular watering in the growing season. Maintain a dry soil while dormant. Tidy up leaves once they have completely withered. Once established do not disturb for four years. Then can be propagated by division, but it is better to plant out bulblets in the autumn (or spring in colder regions).

  • Family: Amaryllidaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Daffoldils, Amaryllis, Snowdrops.
  • Miscellaneous: Genus named after the Austrian botanist Count Kaspar von Sternberg.

How to Grow Winter Daffodil and other Sternbergia Plants

Sternbergia plant species such as winter daffodils, can be grown from seed, but are more often grown from bulbs.

The Winter daffodil bulbs should be buried at a depth of 10 cm (4 inches) from late in summer to early autumn.

They should be spaced at about 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) apart, and can be grown in sunny or partially shaded parts of the garden. Ideally the soil that plants grow in should be fertile and have excellent drainage.

If growing from seeds, then sow outside towards the end of summer. Lightly cover the seeds once sown. It is much easier to grow Sternbergia from the abundant bulblets that they produce.

Caring for Sternbergia

It is important to frequently water Sternbergia plants during their growing season, as they are thirsty during their vegetative stage.

Once flowering growth starts they do not require as much water.

Following blooming, the plant leaves will wither. Once they have withered completely it is safe to cut Sternbergia leaves off to tidy up the plant. If you require more plants then they readily produce bulblets in the autumn.

Common Questions

How many members does the Sternbergia genus have?

The Sternbergia genus includes around 10 species, often mistaken for crocuses due to their similar appearance.

Do members of Sternbergia make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Sternbergia can make a great addition to the garden, especially if you're seeking autumnal color.

Which Sternbergia species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown species is Sternbergia lutea, also known as Autumn Daffodil.

Are members of the Sternbergia plant genus fragrant?

Sternbergia flowers are not typically known for their fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Sternbergia?

Sternbergia prefers sunny locations with well-drained soil. They are drought tolerant and often grown in rock gardens.

Is Sternbergia invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Sternbergia species are not considered invasive in the USA. Always consult local regulations for the most current information.

How do I remove Sternbergia plants from my garden?

To remove Sternbergia, dig up the bulbs when the plant is dormant, usually in summer.


The Sternbergia plant genus, contains plants such as the Winter daffodil and Autumn crocus. It includes bulbous perennials native to the Mediterranean region, Central Asia, and South America. They are valued for their bright yellow, crocus-like flowers that appear in autumn.

Plant Sternbergia bulbs in late summer or early autumn. They prefer a sunny location and well-drained soil. Regular watering is required during their growth and bloom periods, but the soil should be allowed to dry out during their dormancy in summer. In colder climates, a thick layer of mulch may be needed for winter protection.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Sternbergia plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Allium schoenoprasum and Nerine plants.