Planting Trillium

Jane RaffertyJune 27, 2010

I bought two Trillium from Lowes the other day. I see now that there is quite a debate on whether they are nursery or stolen from the wild. Either way, they are in my care now and I'm responsible for them. They deserve the best.

I have to plant them in leaf mold. I'm not sure if that's what I have. Last year I started a compost pile that is mostly ground-up leaves with some rabbit and a little horse manure. The bottom of the pile is nice dark stuff but still has some identifiable leaf pieces in it. Can I plant them in this?

If they do well and I can divide them, I'll see if I can return some of them to the wild. It would seem only fair.



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jane Rafferty

I did some searching and found that they are Trillium underwoodii. Very pretty with the variegated foliage.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 9:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

T. underwoodii at Lowe's? Wow! I can only find them, if at all, at specialty nurseries..and they are fairly expensive, too.

The ones I bought quite a few years ago did fine for me in good "normal" soil out in my wooded areas. I did amend a little with homegrown compost, so what you have at the bottom of your pile should be fine.

I don't know if your soil compacts as the clay does here, but I have learned to mix something (pearlite, etc.) in with the compost for air circulation. Soil should be moist, although my shade planted trilliums have survived droughts with no extra watering. T. underwoodii are native to FL, GA, AL, so I hope they can take your colder weather in CT. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 8:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Trilliums do well here. There is a nearby 'trillium wood' that is absolutely gorgeous in May. I use that as a model for growing conditions in my garden. I don't ammend soil but I do let all the leaf litter from trees and plant foliage remain to 'compost in place'. I don't water - the plants survive on natural rainfall. New plants in the woodland area get supplemental water in the first year only. I do not mulch - mulch is the natural accumulation of leaf litter. I do not disturb the soil other than to plant new things - which is rare now as the garden is maturing in the shady areas. My Trillium grandifoliums have multiplied nicely from offsets. Last year I noticed a few seedlings and this spring there were hundreds of them!

I assume what you've bought is about to go dormant? Let them go dormant. Water the area where you're planting them, plant them and leave them to go dormant.

The trillium wood:

Some in my garden:

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 1:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I don't know the names of Trilliums that much,but I have them all over my garden,growing among my hostas. I have transplanted them sometimes,but they don't like it much! When a Trillium comes up in a new place,I just garden around it. Mine are pink,and fuchsia colored,and some white,and even Trillium Grandiflorum. I planted a big red one several years ago,and it always comes back up every year. I like them because they are part of the natural woodland,and I don't do anything special to them. Just a few thoughts from a hostaholic! Phil

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 9:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Trilliums among the hostas! Now, why didn't I think of that? Hmmm. Ideas brewing here.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 4:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
troutwind(7a SE TN)


The local wild Trillium on my particular ridge here in Southeast Tennessee is the Trillium luteum AKA "Yellow Wakerobin".

I have transplanted a number of these plants during "Salvage" periods prior to wooded lots being stripped off in my neighborhood to make way for new houses. They especially don't like being transplanted in the spring. I lost more than half of the plants when I was forced to take them then.

It is best to mark the location of the plants and wait until the heat and low water conditions of late July and August force the plants into dormancy. I wait until all of the plant has withered and collapsed before I dig them up. I gently remove as much of the encrusting soil from the rhizome as possible without damaging the roots. Softening in water helps. I then plant the dormant rizomes in a mixture of screened leaf compost from my yard mixed with about 1/5 by volume of potting soil and screened native soil. You can also plant them in empty plant pots large enough to give the plant plenty of room.

Taken when dormant I have a much greater success with plants surviving. I don't get the spread that seems to be possible in more northerly zones but small volunteers appear around the yard on a regular basis. Those in grassy areas are marked with stakes and removed later to be transplanted.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 9:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
terrene(5b MA)

Woodyoak, the Trillium woods are just gorgeous! As well as the ones growing in your garden. The Trillium luteum is pretty too. I planted a couple Trillium sessile and a couple T. grandiflorum, however only one of the T. sessile has thrived and come back. They were all planted in the Spring so they may have suffered too much transplant shock and died off. Will be sure to transplant after they're dormant in the future.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 11:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love those photos of the Trilliums. I live in WA state and those do very well here.

I have found some wonderful treasures at Lowe's, depending who the garden buyer was. One year they got a shipment of our native deer fern in 4 inch pots for a ridiculously low price. It apparantley was from a local grower. So of course I snagged quite a few.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 12:55AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Poison Sumac Tree
Is this a poison sumac tree by chance? My woods appear...
Can I just sprout acorns in the ground??
Hi all, I know there are all sorts of fancy ways to...
Woodland Graden
We have acquired a property with wooded backyard,for...
White trillium
Is there an online source for Great White Trilliums? Thank...
Anyone know what type of tree this is?
There are no leaves yet but it is blooming. Appears...
Sponsored Products
Jane Seymour Pink Rose and Peony 10 in. Silk Flower Arrangement - JSB230-PKGR
$120.00 | Hayneedle
Pendant Lighting Wooden Weave Bird Nest Home Lamps
Palram Plant Inn 4' x 4' Urban Vegetable Garden Greenhouse
Boho Tile Stool in Green
$99.99 | Dot & Bo
Fern in Square Basket Christmas Decor
$149.00 | FRONTGATE
David Bromstad Blue "Flowers in Unity" Artwork
Grandin Road
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™