Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - April 28, 2010

From: Saugatuck, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Rare or Endangered Plants, Planting, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Transplanting trilliums
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

What's the best time to transplant white trillium on my property on the shore of Lake Michigan?

ANSWER:

When my mother dug up a trillium from the woods and planted it her flowerbed at the front of our home, my teenaged siblings and I all scolded her for her "illegal act".  However, like our famous Texas Bluebonnet, Ontario's trillium is protected from picking/digging only by urban myth, not the law.

Trillium grandiflorum (white trillium) is not difficult to propogate by seed but can take a notoriously long time to grow to maturity after germination.  So most of the trilliums you find for sale in nurseries are actually collected from the wild.  

The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes, so I must encourage you to leave the plant where it is and try to propogate it by seed or rhizome division.  You can find instructions in William Cullina's book , "Wildflowers: A Guide to Growing and Propogating Native Flowers of North America"

That being said, my mother's trillium blooms happily on in her front garden 30 years later.  Be certain you do not damage the plant while digging  and transplant it in mid to late summer, just before it goes dormant.


Trillium grandiflorum
 

More Rare or Endangered Plants Questions

Research on decline of Quercus hinckleyi
February 20, 2007 - I am doing a research project on the Hinckley's Oak (Quercus hinckleyi) and am in need of statistical data regarding the decline of this plant. I have been unable to find any data in this area. Any s...
view the full question and answer

Why is endangered Sandplain Gerardia (Agalinis acuta) helpful in the environment
October 31, 2007 - My son is doing a report on endangered plants in Maryland and was assigned the Sandplain Gerardia. On-line we have been able to find much of the information we need for his report. However, there is...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Endangered Plants
March 20, 2004 - What is an endangered plant?
view the full question and answer

Location of Agalinis acuta, sandplain gerardia.
September 12, 2009 - Where can the sandplain gerardia be found?
view the full question and answer

Information on what Texas wildflowers are disappearing
August 02, 2011 - I was shocked to find that Texas Bluebells were vanishing. What other Texas wildflowers are vanishing? There is an endangered species list but I want to help before my wildflower neighbors before t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Bibliography

Wildflowers (2000) Cullina, W. and Cullina B.

Search More Titles in Bibliography