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10 Different Types of Trillium Flowers


Get to know the different types of Trillium flowers as well as their characteristic features, uses, and ideal growing conditions so you can plant them in your shade garden or wildflower garden.

Trillium flower closeup

The trillium plant is native to North America and East Asia. It belongs to the Liliaceae family. It is a perennial plant that has around 30 to 50 different species. The plant is mainly divided into two groups. These are pedicellate and sessile trilliums. Other common names that are used to refer to the plant are Indian balm, wake-robin, and birthwort.

Features of the Trillium Plant

A closeup view of a trillium flower

The trillium plant has rhizomes and is characterized by unbranched stems. The plant does not produce any leaves or stems above the ground. The stem produces leaves that are tiny and very scale-like. The flowers then appear on top of the bracts of the leaves. However, in sessile trilliums, the pedicel doesn’t exist. It seems as if the flower is appearing straight from the bracts.

Apart from that, the main distinguishing feature of this plant is its showy flowers and whorl of three leaves. It also has three sepals and three petals, hence why it is sometimes known as “trinity flower,” too. The flowers of this plant come in many colors like yellow, red, pink, purple, and white.

Cultivation of the Trillium Plant

Trillium flowers in a garden

This plant is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9.Moist and well-drained soil is ideal for the growth of this plant. It is also a good idea to use fertilizer so that the plant gets organic matter that can help it grow. This will ensure that the plant grows to become healthy. The best propagation method for this plant is by seeds. They can also be propagated by division.

Flowering does not really happen right away -it takes some time forth flowers to bloom. On average, it can take up to 4 to 5 years. It is best if the area that the seeds are planted in is rich in humus or compost so that the plants can get sufficient nutrition.

This plant does not really need heavy maintenance. However, it does need compost and organic matter regularly. In addition to that, this plant does not have any serious insect or disease problems. However, it does attract deer. It typically grows to a height of 12 to 15 inches and spreads 12 to 18 inches.

Uses of the Trillium Plant

This plant is mainly used for medicinal purposes. It contains chemical compounds called sapogenins that have been used over the years as uterine stimulants, astringents, expectorants, and coagulants. Apart from that, people who are collectors of different types of plants love to collect trilliums. This plant is mainly used in shade gardens and wildflower gardens.

Types of Trillium Flowers

There are many different types of trillium plants. The main varieties are listed below and explained in detail, too.

Trillium GrandiflorumTrillium Grandiflorum; a variety of the trillium plant

This is one of the most famous varieties of this plant. The petals of this plant are white in color and sometimes even turn slight pink as they age. This is why this plant is also known as the white trillium. It is native to Northeast and the Midwest and can be found all the way up to Georgia. It belongs to the Melanthiaceae family.

Other common names of this plant include American wood lily and American wake-robin. It is a deciduous variety that has an upright growth habit. It is hardy in USDA zone 5. The foliage of this variety is bright green in color. Partial shade or full shade is ideal for the growth of this plant. It is best if this plant is sheltered so that it can grow well. Sandy, loamy, or chalky soil is ideal for the growth of this plant. The soil should be moist but well-drained, and it can be acidic or neutral. This plant grows to an ultimate height of 0.1 to 0.5 meters and spreads 0.1 to 0.5 meters.

It takes approximately 2 to 5 years for this plant to grow to its maximum height. For the ideal growth of this plant, pruning is not really required. Slugs and snails can be a slight problem for this plant, but generally, it is disease-free. It needs a medium amount of water, and the plants are mainly known to grow from April to June.

Trillium StamineumTrillium Grandiflorum; a variety of the trillium plant

Other common names for this plant include Blue Ridge Wake-Robin, twisted trillium, and propeller trillium. This plant is a perennial herb that belongs to the Liliaceae family. The native region for this plant is from central Tennessee to the coastal plain of Mississippi. Its stems are unbranched, with 3 leaves right at the top.

The flowers have three petals and can be of many colors, such as white, pink, yellow, maroon, or purple. They bloom in March, April, and May, which are the blooming months for this variety. The leaves of this variety are elliptical in shape. However, they can even be ovate or lanceolate. This variety is poisonous, and so children and pets should be made to stay away from it.

Moist but well-drained soil can ensure that this plant grows to become healthy. Alongside that, partial shade or full shade should be provided, too.

Trillium LuteumTrillium Luteum; a variety of the trillium plant

Also known as yellow trillium, this plant is characterized by large yellow petals. It is native to North Carolina and has a very different lemon scent that can be very pleasing. Partial or full shade areas are ideal for this plant in order to ensure that this plant grows well. Apart from that, sandy, loamy or clayey soil can ensure that this plant grows quickly. The soil should be moist but well-drained. Typically, yellow trillium is known to grow to a height of 1 to 18 inches. The flowers bloom in April and May, which are the blooming months for this plant.

This plant is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8. When planting this variety, care should be taken to leave a space of 18 inches between the plantings to ensure that the roots have enough space to grow. It also leaves enough room for air circulation. Planting in early spring is ideal. This is a long-lived variety that takes quite some years to mature. It is mainly grown in shade gardens or in naturalized wood areas.

Other common names for this variety include wood lily and yellow toadshade. This plant has medium water requirements, which means that this is a low maintenance plant. It does not really have any serious insect or disease problems. Transplanting is not recommended for this plant, and care should be taken to not dig this plant in the wild.

Trillium SulcatumTrillium Sulcatum; a variety of the trillium plant

The sepals and the petals of this variety are boat-shaped. Its flowers are dark red or maroon; however, they can even appear in pink, white, or yellow in color. April and May are the blooming months for this variety. This perennial variety grows well in part shade or full shade, and it needs a medium amount of water to grow.

The soil can be loam or gravel, but it should be moist and well-drained. It is ideal if the soil is acidic. The USDA hardiness zones for this variety are 5, 6, and 7. On average, this plant grows to a height of 1 to 3 feet. The ideal method for propagation for this variety is through division. If seeds are used for propagation, then it is important to know that the plants can take around 4 years to mature.

Trillium SimileTrillium Simile; a variety of the trillium plant

Other common names that are used to refer to this plant are sweet white trillium and jeweled wake-robin. It typically grows to a height of 1 to 3 feet. April and May are the blooming months for this plant. The flowers can be white, purple, brown, or yellow in color. Part shade or full shade can ensure that this plant grows to become healthy. Apart from that, this variety is generally pest and disease-free. No pruning is required to keep this plant looking healthy and fresh.

Trillium FlexipesTrillium Flexipes; a variety of the trillium plant

This variety is also known as drooping trillium. Other common names include nodding wake-robin and bent trillium. This perennial plant is known to typically grow to a height of 8 to 20 inches. Part shade is ideal for the growth of this plant, which belongs to the Melanthiaceae family. It is known to spread from rhizomes.

It is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 7, and the flowers bloom in April and May, which are the blooming months for this plant. It is a medium maintenance plant since it requires a medium amount of water to grow. Humus rich soil can ensure that this plant grows to become healthy. Growing this plant by division is ideal since propagating by seed can take a lot of time for the plant to grow.

Trillium CuneatumTrillium Cuneatum; a variety of the trillium plant

A common name used for this plant is wood lily. It is an herbaceous perennial that belongs to the Melanthiaceae family. It is native to the Southeastern United States. Being hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8, this plant is known to grow to a height of 1 to 1.5 feet and is known to spread 0.75 to 1 feet.

The blooming months for this plant are April and May, and its showy and fragrant flowers are a maroonish-yellow color. This plant has medium water requirements and requires heavy shade to grow properly. The soil should be humus-rich to ensure that this plant grows to become healthy.

Trillium Lancifolium

The common name that is used to refer to this plant is lance-leaved trillium. It is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9. Each flower of this plant has three petals that are maroon in color and have an upright growth habit. Alongside that, the plant is known to bloom in spring. It also bears fruit that has several seeds.

Trillium RecurvatumTrillium Recurvatum; a variety of the trillium plant

This variety is more commonly referred to as prairie trillium. It grows to a height of 0.5 to 1.25 feet and produces flowers that are purple to brown in color. Partial shade or full shade is ideal for the growth of this plant. It is a medium maintenance plant that does not really require a lot of water. The native range for this plant is the Eastern United States, and it is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9.

Trillium Ludovicianum

This variety is native to East Texas. Moist but well-drained soil is ideal for the growth of this variety. The flowers of this variety are brownish-maroon in color. Partial shade or full shade are both suitable for the growth of this plant.

The trillium plant is a really beautiful plant whose flowers are a collector’s paradise.