Height 30-45cm (12-18in)

Planting distance 15-20cm (6-8in)

Flowers mid spring to early summer

Rich, moist well-drained soil

Partial shade

Rhizomes available late summer and early autumn

Trilliums flourish under woodland conditions so they should be given a shaded spot with humus-rich soil. They are extremely hardy. All three popular species have flowers with three petals and three stamens, accompanied by three broad mid green leaves. The flowers appear from mid spring to early summer. Plant in large clumps for maximum effect.

Popular species

Trillium erectum has small wine-coloured flowers which face out-wards. The plants may reach up to 30cm (12in) high and the rhizomes should be set 20cm (8in) apart. A yellow form ‘Luteum’ also exists. Trillium, grandiflorum, commonly known as wake robin, is the most popular species. It has large out-ward-facing flowers, which are snow-white at first but gradually turn pale pink with age. The plants grow 40-45cm (16-18in) high and the rhizomes should be set 20cm (8in) apart.

Trillium sessile has erect, narrow, pointed flowers with a slight scent. Ranging in colour from red and maroon to a greenish-yellow, they are stemless and accompanied by marbled grey and deep green leaves. The plants stand 30-40cm (12-16in) high, and the rhizomes should be planted 15-20cm (6-8in) apart.


Plant the rhizomes as soon as they are available in late summer to early autumn, or at any time during the winter in mild dry weather. Trilliums must be planted in moist but well-drained soil with plenty of humus incorporated. Ideally the site should be in partial shade, though trilliums tolerate sun if the soil is always kept moist. The rhizomes of all species should be set 7.5-10cm (3-4in) deep.


Lift and divide the rhizomes after the foliage has died down in autumn. Make sure each piece has a growing point. Only divide plants which are at least five years old. After division they may take a year or more to recover.

Pests and diseases

Slugs attack young shoots and flower buds.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Bulbous Plants, Featured Articles | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Trilliums


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