By Jennifer Poindexter
Do you have a desolate growing location that needs a little life added to it? You may need a low-growing, perennial flowering plant to liven up the area.
If so, you should consider growing trilliums. These flowers produce unique blooms and beautiful colors.
However, it’s vital you understand how to grow trilliums prior to planting them. If you’re new to growing this plant, you’re in the right place.
I’m going to share with you how to grow, care, and protect trilliums. Having this information before you start this journey could make all the difference in your experience.
If you’re interested in adding trilliums to your landscape, here’s the information you should know:
Growing Condition for Trilliums
When growing trilliums, it’s important to understand what the plant needs in a growing location and what to expect from the plant long-term, so you can ensure the growing location will sustain the plant over time.
To start, trilliums prefer a growing location with nutrient-rich soil that’s also well-draining. You should choose an area with partial sunlight as well.
These flowers are hardy in planting zones five through eight. However, when planting them at the warmer end of this spectrum, it’s best to select a growing location with more shade.
They require more protection from light, the warmer of an area they’re growing in.
Trilliums are perennial plants that spread out over time. However, it can take up to four years for the bunching and spreading of these flowers to occur.
These flowers produce blooms in shades of white, yellow, red, and a mixture of color. They produce three leaves and three petals which is why this plant is sometimes called the “trinity flower.”
Trilliums reach heights around one and a half feet tall and bloom for approximately one month during the spring.
If you live in a warmer area, the bloom time will be shorter than a month. In cooler locations, the bloom time may last longer than a month.
These flowers thrive when the temperatures are between 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperatures in your area are in this range, this should be an ideal time for trilliums to bloom.
By understanding these basics about the trillium flower you’re taking steps to ensure this plant starts its life on the right foot while growing under your care.
How to Plant Trilliums
There are two methods to growing trilliums. The first method is to plant from rhizomes. This is the most common method of growing this plant.
If this is the option for you, start planting rhizomes during the early spring. This is the accurate time for planting purchased rhizomes. We’ll discuss dividing established trilliums in a moment.
Prepare the growing area by gently tilling the soil. It’s wise to amend the soil prior to planting as well.
When ready, plant each rhizome in the growing location. Provide one foot of space between each rhizome and ensure they’re planted three inches deep. Water the rhizomes after planting to help them become established.
Should you wish to harvest rhizomes from your own established plants, do this during late summer when the plant is heading into dormancy.
Carefully dig the rhizomes out of the ground. You should remove as much of the root system as you can.
Remove any damaged or dead parts of the mature plant attached to the rhizome. Divide the rhizomes to create as many plants as you’d like.
Then transplant the rhizomes into an appropriate growing location with the right conditions. It isn’t as easy to divide trilliums as it is other plants as they prefer to be left alone.
However, with proper care, you can divide the plants to spread their beauty around your property and to keep mature trilliums healthy by providing more space for better airflow.
The other method for propagating trilliums is from seed. This isn’t a favored option as it can take up to five years for the plants to bloom.
However, if you’d like to try it, begin by collecting seed pods in June or July. The pods should be brown at the time of collection.
Plant the seeds immediately or store them in a moist growing medium in your refrigerator until you’re ready to plant.
Once the plants are sowed directly into their growing location, water them lightly to keep the seeds damp without oversaturating them to avoid rotting. It can take up to two years for the seeds to germinate.
Before we learn how to care for these plants, there’s one final note that must be addressed when planting trilliums.
These plants are considered endangered. Don’t ever dig them up in the wild for this reason. Instead, purchase them from an approved, and trusted, vendor.
Now you know of a few ways to grow trilliums. Pick the option that best suits your needs and begin adding this plant around your home.
Caring for Trilliums
Trilliums are low-maintenance plants. It’s more important to discuss what you shouldn’t do for these plants than what you should do for them.
You won’t need to prune or water trilliums once they’re established. However, in the early stages, it’s wise to water based upon the planting method chosen.
For seeds, you should water the area lightly and regularly. You never want the soil to become dry.
If you transplanted rhizomes, it’s wise to water the area deeply. This ensures the plants receive necessary moisture, but it also encourages deeper root systems.
However, if you’re going through a period of severe drought and you notice established plants seem to be struggling, do water during these times.
The next thing to discuss is pruning. In the later portion of summer, trilliums begin going dormant. The leaves turn yellow and die back. Therefore, there’s no need to prune as the plant fades on its own accord.
Once this occurs, you may add a layer of mulch or compost around the plant. This will protect it over the winter and provide nutrients to the growing area.
This is the only care these flowers need from you. As you can see, it isn’t much. Once trilliums are established, they take care of themselves with the exception of adding mulch at the end of a growing season.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Might Impact Trilliums
The last thing we must discuss about growing trilliums is what pests and diseases they may need protection from.
There are no common diseases that trilliums struggle with. However, there are a few pests which cause issues for them.
The main pests which bother these flowers are snails, slugs, and deer. When protecting your plants from snails and slugs, you have multiple options.
One option is to handpick them from your plants. This will remove them without bringing harm to the slugs or snails.
Another option is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth and coffee grounds around the base of your plants. Diatomaceous earth creates a dangerous terrain for the creatures to crawl through.
However, coffee grounds can provide the same effect. Yet, they also deter the pests all together as snails and slugs don’t like caffeine.
Lastly, you may use an insecticide to eradicate snails and slugs from disturbing your trillium plants. Pick the option which works best for you and the materials you have available.
The other pest mentioned are deer. They like to munch on trillium plants. To protect your plants from these larger pests, sprinkle deer deterrents around the plants.
These granulated mixtures, which can be purchased at most big box gardening stores, provide various scents that deer don’t like.
However, if this doesn’t do the trick, you can also place netting or wire caging around your flowers to provide necessary protection.
These are the pests you should remain aware of when growing trilliums. By catching these problems early and providing necessary protection, your plants should remain in good health.
Keep these tips in mind as you protect your trillium plants around your landscape.
You now know the basics of growing trillium plants. These flowers are beautiful, long-lasting, and low-maintenance.
However, they’re also easier to protect and face few threats in comparison to most plants. Hopefully, these tips will help you to grow this plant successfully and enjoy their simplistic beauty over the years.