Monday, April 22, 2013

Today's Favorite Plant in the Garden - Trilliums!

Nothing tells me it is Spring more than the appearance of Trilliums in the garden.

Just waking up from a long Winter's nap.

I have placed a stone in front of each patch, so when things warm up in the Spring, I begin to look for them.

Trillium erectum (Wake-Robin) just out of the bark and unfurling.

Their appearance also means I have to be ever vigilant with my rambunctious French Bulldog Yvette, because of her fondness for steamrolling my flowerbeds chasing squirrel-ees, crows and airplanes (yes, airplanes).  I know that Yvee can take out an entire stand of tender Trillium in one bound and once a stem is broken, there's no going back.  I have some Azaleas missing entire chunks due to her antics.

Azalea "Yvette Steamrollered"
Although I have several different types, it is hard to beat the common white grandiflorum for beauty and fragrance. If you get down to their level, they are quite fragrant.  They truly are beautiful and their ability to bloom pure white and then change with age to a red wine color is striking. 

Trillium grandiflorum (White Wake-Robin)

They are good buy at the nursery also, generally for around $8 and you may get lucky and get a pot with more than one stem. In just a few years, they slowly spread into little groups with multiple flowers.

I generally deadhead them once the flowers are done, so that they don't put all their energy into making seeds, but, I have had luck with letting some of them go to seed and spreading the seeds around myself.  This year, I have noticed several new plants in places I would never have planted one.  Ants will also help with seed distribution.

They are very happy in dry shade with supplemental summer water.  The leaves will last all summer provided they are taken care of.  They can get a little tattered by fall however, and some do disappear over summer. 

Lots of babies popping up!

This year, I have one group that has had some interesting variations - one of the flowers almost looking orchid-like.

Another beauty is this Wake Robin.  The flowers are a pretty chocolate brown.  Unfortunately, the flowers nod, so you really have to get down to their level to enjoy them.

Trillium erectum (Wake-Robin)

Trillium flexipes (Bent Trillium)

Trillium luteum (Yellow Wake-Robin)

Trillium recurvatum (Bloody Butcher)


  1. Trilliums are next on my list to procure. You have some gorgeous varieties! Cheers, Jenni

  2. I keep thinking I should start adding trilliums to my garden, but it does seem like the kind of plants where you need to really jump in an be serious about it in order to do it well. Maybe next year...

    1. They are so easy to grow, but they are pretty nondescript once they are done blooming. There are a few with mottled leaves that are pretty enough for their foliage, but you really need to plant Trillium with other interesting plants.

  3. What beauties! I wish I had a spot for them :-(

  4. I remember as a kid playing in the woods being cautioned to never pick a trillium or it would not regrow the next year. Anyone know if this is true? You have a lovely collection.

  5. My dog has broken plants off, that's kind of like picking them, and they do grow back, but not until the following year. It's probably not the best thing for them though since you are picking the only leafy stem.