Great Plants: Trillium grandiflorum

Great Plants: Trillium grandiflorum

I like a lot of Trillium species and there are a lot of Trilliums to like, but the big, bright white flowers of Trillium grandfilorum is one of my favorite plants. The leaves and blossoms unfurl in a spiral from sheaths as they emerge. The white blossoms brighten the shady areas where they like to grow and the flowers remain for a long time, slowly turning to pink as they age. Trillium provide pollinators, like bumblebees, an early source of nectar and the bees return the favor by pollinating the plant. The seeds have a sticky substance that attracts ants, and the ants carry the seeds back to their colonies, thereby establishing new nearby colonies of Trillium. Browsing deer can disperse the seeds over greater distances.

Trillium generally grow in moist, shady woodland soils, but many species’ tolerance will allow then to grow well in urban conditions. It is important to establish them in loose soil and amend it with a top dressing of leaf mold/mulch that will insulate the soil from too much heat and retain moisture. In the heat of summer, they will usually go dormant, which helps ensure their survival for future years. Trillium species that I have seen adapt well in the city are Trillium grandiflorum and Trillium cuneatum. There are probably others that will tolerate urban conditions, they just haven’t been tested or reported yet.

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