Red Trillium

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Red Trillium, also known as Purple Trillium and Wake Robin, blooms with stunning, three-petaled red flowers. Prefers moist shade and rich soil. (Trillium erectum)

Zones 4 - 8
Advantages
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Multiplies / Naturalizes
Multiplies / Naturalizes
Light Requirements
Half Sun / Half Shade
Half Sun / Half Shade
Full Shade
Full Shade
Mature Plant Size 12-14" tall, 12" wide
Bloom Time Mid to late spring
SKU 5WF3
One of the most famous members of the famous Trillium family, the Red (or Purple) Trillium is known by several names, including Wake Robin. This beautiful wildflower is one of the easiest Trilliums to grow, since it is tolerant of acid or alkaline soils. Native all over the northern states from Maine to Michigan, and south to the Carolinas, mostly in mountains, the Red Trillium requires moist shade and rich woodland soil. The spring blooms are up to 4 in. across, and held high above the leaves on upright plants to 16 tall. Like all Trilliums, everything appears in threes--three leaves, three petals. A real beauty for any shade garden. Our trillium plants are nursery propagated from seed.

The Trillium Tribe, and why its so famous. The classic 4-inch thick botanical reference work, Hortus Third, tells us that there are about 30 species of Trillium worldwide, but the majority of the species are native to North America. A very few originate in Japan and Korea, none in Europe. This is one reason that our colonists were so taken with these woodland beauties when they arrived. They had simply never seen anything like them.

Trilliums, as the name implies have everything in 3s--three leaves, three petals, etc. And compared to the other spring flowers that bloom when winter is finally over in our cold climates, the Trilliums are the ones with large look-at-me flowers. They were famous with the Indians before colonization, and instantly the stars of spring bloom with the colonists.

Remember, when the colonists arrived, they arrived on our east coast which was totally wooded--big, primeval old growth forest, right down to the beaches. And under these cathedral-like trees were the woodland native flowers--almost all species the Europeans had never seen. Also, this is why almost all the native flowers of our east coast are woodland plants, not meadow wildflowers. Of this famous original group of woodland wildflowers, which includes the Lady Slippers, Mayflower, Hepatica and many more, the Trilliums reigned supreme.

For centuries the flowers were picked heavily, which is unfortunate since a picked trillium is a dead trillium. But it was the clearing of the forests for farming, a necessity for the colonists, that really devastated the woodland wildflowers. We like to wring our hands about paving for interstates and new condominium projects today, but we needn't. The damage was done long ago when our ancestors cleared the eastern forests for farming. Of course, there are relatively small habitats left, and in recent years, our forested area has been enlarging, and woodland wildflower habitat has been restored in many places.

In any case, this elegant class of flowers, the Trilliums, are now recognized as precious and special, although they are not officially endangered. In many areas, Trilliums are still very common.

Wildflower gardeners love them, and it is true that most of them are not difficult to grow or transplant, and if conditions are good, they thrive. However, it does help to know the facts.

Here's how they are propagated. Trilliums such as The Great White spread very slowly by underground root stocks, and the seed produced creates new plants even more slowly. From a planted seed, it takes approximately five to nine years for a Trillium grandiflorum plant (the Great White Trillium) to bloom. So when you see a massive drift of these in spring, you kinow youre looking at a bunch of plants that are at least a decade old, probably much older. These plants are not daisies!

And how do they propagate themselves? Well, T. grandiflorum is one of the wildflowers whose seeds are distributed by ants. Yes, ants--not birds or bees, or the wind, but ants. This is why the species creates large close drifts over the years. Plants are never very far apart, since ants don't travel far. So each clump of T. grandiflorum you see was planted where you see it by an ant. (They carry the seeds away when they fall from the plant because the ants enjoy the sticky covering each seed case has when it falls to the ground.)

That brings us to the basic rarity of the Trilliums. A big factor is that each flower produces only one seed case when it fades. (Everybody knows that most flowers--a daisy, for example, produces hundreds of loose seeds from each flower.) So even if the ants find the sticky seed case, and take it underground where the several seeds inside can grow, there simply aren't huge numbers of white trillium seeds being planted each year. Other trillium species have various propagation strategies, but all take years and years.

Now you have some idea of the value of these beautiful plants. They are an important part of American botanical history, and deserve a place of honor in every American wildflower garden.

Here are the best known species, with a little info on each:
Trillium grandiflorum, Great White Trillium. The provincial flower of Ontario, and quite common there and around the Great Lakes. Also the official wildflower of Ohio, T. grandiflorum is native over most of the east, from Canada to Georgia, especially in neutral or non-acid soils. Large white flowers fade to pink; plants form large drifts.
Trillium erectum, Red Trillium. Also called Wake Robin and Stinking Benjamin, the second because of the flowers unpleasant odor, said to be similar to rotting meat. Propagated by flies. Red to purple flowers; plants solitary in acid or alkaline woods. Native to the eastern forests from Canada to Georgia.
Trillium undulatum, Painted Trillium. Smaller than the Great White or Red, but with one of the most beautiful flowers--white with purplish/red centers. Must have highly acidic soil; common in pine woods. Native to forests from Canada to Georgia.
Trillium Catesbaei, Rosy Trillium or Catesby Trillium. One of the first Trilliums discovered and named for Mark Catesby, the famous early British plant explorer and artist. The Rosy Trillium has somewhat smallish blooms which nod below the leaves. It is native to the Southeast, where Catesby visited.
Trillium viride var luteum, Yellow Trillium. This unusual trillium has mottled leaves and lemon yellow blooms that hold their petals high and never really open. It is often said to have a lemon scent, and is native from Kentucky south to Florida.
Trillium ovatum, Coast Trillium. This is a famous western trillium, much like T. grandiflorum in the east. Flowers are white, fading to pink. It is native from British Columbia through coastal forests all the way to central California.

Associated SKUs
2TRILG
5WF3 (Bag of 3)
2FTRIL3 (Bag of 3) - Out of stock.
Common Name Wake-Robin
Botanical Name Trillium erectum
Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Light Requirements Half Sun / Half Shade, Full Shade
Flower Color Red
Mature Height 12-14" tall
Estimated Mature Spread 12" wide
Bloom Time Mid to late spring
Planting Depth Plant so that the top of the root is 1" below the soil line.
Ships As Bare Root
Planting Time Spring / Summer
Soil Type Loamy Soil, Moist/Wet Soil
Soil Moisture Moist/Wet, Well Draining
Advantages Deer Resistant, Multiplies / Naturalizes
Ships to Canada No

Shipping begins in late March based on ground temperatures, warmest zones first.

As soon as your order is placed you will receive a confirmation email. You will receive a second email the day your order ships telling you how it has been sent. Some perennials are shipped as potted plants, some as perennial roots packed in peat.  The ‘Plant Information’ section describes how that item will ship. All perennials and spring-planted bulbs are packaged to withstand shipping and are fully-guaranteed. Please open upon receipt and follow the instructions included.

Perennials and spring-planted bulbs are shipped at the proper planting time for your hardiness zone. Perennial and spring-planted bulb orders will arrive separately from seeds. If your order requires more than one shipment, there is no additional shipping charge. See our shipping information page for approximate ship dates and more detailed information. If you need express shipping or have any questions, please call Customer Service toll-free at (877) 309-7333 or contact us by email.

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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
American MeadowsRed Trillium
 
3.3

(based on 12 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (4)

70%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Accurate instructions (4)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Garden (4)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Avid gardener (5)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Red Trillium

These were replacements for an item that was not correct. They did come past bloom time but they still had the appearance of red trillium versus the toad shade. They were mature enough to...Read complete review

These were replacements for an item that was not correct. They did come past bloom time but they still had the appearance of red trillium versus the toad shade. They were mature enough to have had blossoms from what I could tell and I am very hopeful that these are the red trillium I have wanted to add to my Michigan wild flower collection. I am looking forward to next spring to see them in their vibrant red color. They have a special place in my garden along with the red toad shade. I LOVE Michigan wild flowers. I am a true fan of their simple and elegant beauty. Thank you.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Red trillium

We were very dissapointed with the trilliums...none of the red came up!

We were very dissapointed with the trilliums...none of the red came up!

Reviewed by 12 customers

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Displaying reviews 1-12

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5.0

Hearty little babies!

By 

from Virginia Beach

About Me Avid Gardener

Pros

  • Accurate Instructions

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Garden

    Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

    I gave see to my friend who loves Trillium. She has a shade garden and I thought a pop of red in the far back yard shade area would be nice. They should be established by this next spring, 2016.

    • Primary use:
    • Personal
     
    5.0

    Red Trillium

    By 

    from Hillsdale, Michigan

    About Me Avid Gardener

    Pros

    • Accurate Instructions

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Garden

      Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

      These were replacements for an item that was not correct. They did come past bloom time but they still had the appearance of red trillium versus the toad shade. They were mature enough to have had blossoms from what I could tell and I am very hopeful that these are the red trillium I have wanted to add to my Michigan wild flower collection. I am looking forward to next spring to see them in their vibrant red color. They have a special place in my garden along with the red toad shade. I LOVE Michigan wild flowers. I am a true fan of their simple and elegant beauty. Thank you.

      • Primary use:
      • Personal
       
      1.0

      the flower did not come up

      By 

      from Aurora, MO

      Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

      the flower did not live. it did not come up

       
      1.0

      Nothing grew 2

      By 

      from NH

      About Me Avid Gardener

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

            Followed the directions that accompanied the plant but nothing grew

            • Primary use:
            • Personal
             
            3.0

            Red

            By 

            from Vienna, VA

            About Me Avid Gardener

            Pros

            • Accurate Instructions

            Cons

            • Flimsy

            Best Uses

            • Garden
            • Outdoors

            Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

            Two of the three came up. These two already had soot

            • Primary use:
            • Personal
             
            4.0

            Growing strong!

            By 

            from Midlothian, VA

            About Me Avid Gardener

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Accurate Instructions
            • Healthy

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Garden

              Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

              I ordered two bags and all but one plant is thriving! They all (except one) had nice roots when they arrived and I planted them immediately, following the easy directions and with no other special care. They are growing very well in shady area - developed leaves within 2 weeks - growing strong! Unsure if they will bloom this year, but that's to be expected.

              • Primary use:
              • Personal
               
              1.0

              Red trillium

              By 

              from Greenville , SC

              Pros

                Cons

                • Most Of Them Were Rotten

                Best Uses

                • In Our Shade Garden

                Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

                We were very dissapointed with the trilliums...none of the red came up!

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No
                 
                3.0

                red trillium

                By 

                from Mount Pleasant, MI

                Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

                First planting was this spring and they are growing but small yet. I am looking forward to seeing how they look next year.

                 
                1.0

                Did not grow

                By 

                from Edwards, CO

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

                      I planted these last fall and none of the plants made it through to grow this year.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Good quality

                      By 

                      from Seattle, WA

                      Verified Reviewer

                      Pros

                      • Fast growing

                      Cons

                      • Protect From Slugs

                      Best Uses

                      • Shade Moist Acidic Soil
                      • Shade Under Pines
                      • Woodland gardens

                      Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

                      Planted these in a shady problem spot. They seem to love it! The plants were starting to grow in the bag, so I planted them right away. They have grown from little starts, to three to four inch tall plants with full blown leaves in less than a week. Much hardier than other trilliums I have tried to grow in my garden! Just remember to protect them from slugs.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Beauties to Behold!

                      By 

                      from Vancouver, WA

                      Verified Reviewer

                      Pros

                      • Beautiful in Groups
                      • Dainty
                      • Easy care
                      • Shade Lover

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Great color
                        • Striking Blooms In Garden

                        Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

                        These look wonderful at the outer edge of shaded areas, especially under trees. They are beautiful grouped together.

                        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        When can I order more!!!

                        By 

                        from Louisiana

                        Verified Reviewer

                        Comments about American Meadows Red Trillium:

                        This is the first time I have had any luck with growing trilliums ...everyone one sprouted-one bloomed this first year.

                        Displaying reviews 1-12

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                        USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

                        To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

                        • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
                        • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

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