Messages posted to thread:

carmen24-Jan-02 12:32 AM EST 8   
Susan24-Jan-02 07:29 AM EST 6a   

Subject: trilliums
From: carmen
Zone: 8
Date: 24-Jan-02 12:32 AM EST

I am thinking of buying some trilliums this year. I will be buying them from mail order and they have about 20 different types. Never having seen any but the most common..any ideas on nice types?? Especially ones that spread?? pink or white would be nice. thank you carmen

Subject: RE: triliums
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 24-Jan-02 07:29 AM EST

Trilliums are a touchy subject in the world of wildflowers. They are very slow to grow from seed (about 7 years from seed to flowering plant size...), so if the price doesn't reflect that kind of propagation and they're not listed as certified nursery grown, odds are they are wild-harvested, which is a no-no.... When you do see nursery grown ones, they tend to be the white Trillium graniflorum (the flowers fade to pink...)which are a bit faster than average to propagate and are quite fast spreaders. I'm originally from the Maritimes and my personal favorites are the deep burgundy-red ones that grew wild in the woods at home in a beautiful spring combination with yellow dog-toothed violets. But the red trillums seem to be particularly hard/slow to propagate, so I'm always supicious of the source of any offered for sale, so I don't buy them.

Many people don't realize that trilliums are a bulb, in much the same way that daffodils or tulips are (although the bulb is relatively smaller, with a larger, more fiberous root mass.) Most trilliums offered for sale are sold in flower, so they have to go through the stress of transplanting and then their normal summer dormancy period. Sometimes they will not survive or else flower poorly the next year because they couldn't handle the extra stress of transplanting. By far the best way to plant trilliums is in their dormant bulb stage i.e. fall plant in the same way as you would plant daffodils or tulips. However, I've never seen them sold that way in a nursery. I sometimes buy trillums in local nurseries, buying the ones that did not sell when they were in flower; the plants are usually in the early stages or dormancy and looking pretty ratty! I figure that, if I don't buy them, the odds are the nursery will not attempt to re-grow them the next year so they would have died anyway. Sometimes they live and sometimes they don't... A purist would say that by buying them at any time, in any state, I'm encouraging more wild harvesting and that is likely true but I hate to see them dying in the nursery without taking a chance of saving them....

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