Trillium Plants

Trillium Plants

Spring Ephemerals for the Shade Garden

By Published December 05, 2019 Updated October 04, 2022

Trillium are wonderfull woodland shade perennials that go by several common names including wakerobin, toadshade, birthroot, birthwort and wood lily. Like the mythical town of Brigadoon in Scotland or Germelshausen in Germany, the trillium plant appears for a short period of time, displays its beauty to the world and disappears again. Luckily for us, trillium plays this ephemeral game of hide and seek on a yearly schedule instead of by the century. Trillium are native to North America and many varieties can be found in the Appalachian Mountains and throughout the woodlands of the Southeast U.S.

Trillium plants are spring ephemerals, whose yearly above ground life cycle occurs in just 6-8 weeks in early spring. They spend the rest of the year hiding dormant underground. However short-lived it may be, Trillium is worth waiting for. The plants display a characteristic three-whorled leaf atop a short stem. Above the leaf is a lovely 3-petalled flower.

There are two types of trillium nurseries and trillium collectors in the world, the ethical and unethical. As a grower of ethically propagated trillium plants we strongly urge those who want to buy trillium to only patronize nurseries who propagate from nursery stock instead of wild collecting. Many wild trillium populations are over harvested by poachers and are under stress and are typically dead by the time they make it to the garden. The unethical nurseries are unwilling to wait the 3-7 years that it takes to produce a trillium crop. Let's encourage them to stop harming this plant in the wild by only buying trilliums from nurseries who take the time to produce it.

Plant Delights Nursery has nearly 10,000 trillium plants in production, from a variety of American native species. We are serious trillium propagators and have one of the largest collections of trilliums for sale in the U.S. As they mature, we pot up the largest trilliums and add them to our web site. Our crops sell out very fast so when trilliums come online, you need to step lively and get your order in. 

Trillium Trivia : There are 2 main types of trillium, the sessile trilliums whose flower sits on top of the leaf, and the pedicillate trilliums, whose flower is attached to the leaf by a short stem.

Additional Trillium Resources:

Trillium Production at Plant Delights Nursery

In this video, Tony Avent shares how Plant Delights ethically produces trillium plants from seed.

Gardening Unplugged - Trilliums for the South

Find out why trillium have an undeserved reputation of being difficult to grow and why we believe these marvelous woodland plants should be grown more often.



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