Painted Trillium

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One of the most beautiful Trilliums, white with red center markings. Native to northern woods, demands acid soil. (Trillium undulatum)

Zones 4 - 7
Advantages
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Native
Native
Multiplies / Naturalizes
Multiplies / Naturalizes
Light Requirements
Half Sun / Half Shade
Half Sun / Half Shade
Full Shade
Full Shade
Mature Plant Size 8-18" tall, 12" wide
Bloom Time Mid to late spring
SKU 5TRIL3
Painted Trillium is the only bi-colored beauty in the group, with snow white petals and dramatic red markings radiating from its center. This trillium is one that demands heavily acid soils, so it is a growing companion of pink lady's slippers, and is often found in every green woods, growing up through the carpet of fallen pine needles.

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.

Heres 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 know you're 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 arent 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
5TRILG
5FTRIL3 (Bag of 3) - Out of stock.
5TRIL3 (Bag of 3)
Common Name Wake-Robin
Botanical Name Trillium undulatum
Zones 4, 5, 6, 7
Light Requirements Half Sun / Half Shade, Full Shade
Flower Color White
Mature Height 8-18" 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
Native Yes
Planting Time Spring / Summer
Soil Type Loamy Soil, Moist/Wet Soil, Acidic Soil
Soil Moisture Average, Moist/Wet, Well Draining
Advantages Deer Resistant, Native, Multiplies / Naturalizes
Neonicotinoid-Free Yes - Learn More
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®

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American MeadowsPainted Trillium
 
1.8

(based on 8 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

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    (0)

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    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

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    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (5)

25%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

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    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (5)

Reviewed by 8 customers

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Very disappointed with bulbs

By 

from Hastings, MN

About Me Avid Gardener

Verified Reviewer

Pros

    Cons

    • Lifeles Withered
    • Small In Size
    • Very Dry

    Best Uses

      Comments about American Meadows Painted Trillium:

      I was very disappointed in the bulbs when they arrived. I understood they would be dry root, but it they were very withered, had little substance, and appeared to be lifeless. I planted them, but have few expectations that they will grow and bloom in the spring.

      • Primary use:
      • Personal

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      1.0

      I do not buy from American Meadows any more

      By 

      from Michigan

      About Me Avid Gardener

      Verified Reviewer

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        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about American Meadows Painted Trillium:

            Spent a whole summer prepping a bed for painted trilliums, and then purchased nine plants from American Meadows. They did not grow. American Meadows replaced them, those nine plants never grew either.

            • Primary use:
            • Personal

            (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            3.0

            love wildflowers

            By 

            from Bluffton, Indiana

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              Cons

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                  Comments about American Meadows Painted Trillium:

                  Got these to grow lovely trilliums -
                  Hoping that this summer gave them a good time to get established, and that they'll bloom beautifully next spring!
                  Got no blooms this first year.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  1.0

                  Zero for three

                  By 

                  from Northville MI

                  Comments about American Meadows Painted Trillium:

                  Followed planting directions to the letter - was a bit nervous since stock didn't look very good on arrival. Total waste of time and money.

                  (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Patience is rewarded

                  By 

                  from Pacific Northwest

                  Verified Reviewer

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                        Comments about American Meadows Painted Trillium:

                        Trilliums take time, a year or two for a rhizome to sprout one delicate bloom. I now put a protective rock next to sprouting flowers. It's taken five long years to get double or triple trillium flowers. The blooms last for two months then produce seed pods. I sowed the seeds. It is easy to become attached to trilliums, each hard won bloom is precious.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        (2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        2.0

                        Where are they?

                        By 

                        from Dallas, TX

                        Verified Reviewer

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                              Comments about American Meadows Painted Trillium:

                              planted 3 and none of them have even sprouted. Maybe next Spring? but I'm not holding my breath. I have them in a very shady area, but they are probably are not well suited for Texas.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

                              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              1.0

                              These are not Trillium undulatums

                              By 

                              from Washington

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                                    Comments about American Meadows Painted Trillium:

                                    The photo is not a photo of a Trillium undulatum (Painted Trillium). I ordered them anyway and they were indeed not T. undulatum. I contacted the company about the error and they have not yet corrected it.

                                    • Was this a gift?:
                                    • No

                                    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                     
                                    1.0

                                    Trillium

                                    By 

                                    from Hillsboro, Oregn

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                                          Comments about American Meadows Painted Trillium:

                                          I ordered 3 different colors. Only two came up, and they aren't doing well. :(

                                          • Was this a gift?:
                                          • No

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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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