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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.

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

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Wednesday - February 15, 2006

From: Highland , MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Transplanting trilliums in dormancy in Michigan
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Michigan. I have a Trillium in my yard and we are having a new septic field put in. I need to know if I can save the whole plant and can I keep it in the house or do I just need the bulb and what do I do with it until I can replant when the field is completed?

ANSWER:

Trillium transplanting can be done, but it's better to do it when they are dormant. The ideal time to transplant would be after they bloom in the spring and begin to die down. You probably can't wait for that to happen, so you should remove them carefully from the soil and keep them in pots until the field has been finished. The rhizomes typically are very deep in the soil and dislike being disturbed so you should dig them to avoid disturbing the soil around the roots as much as possible.

There are several species of Trillium native to Michigan:
Nodding trillium (Trillium cernuum)
Stinking-Benjamin (T. erectum)
Nodding wakerobin (T. flexipes)
Large-flower wakerobin (T. grandiflorum)
Red trillium (T. sessile)
Painted wakerobin (T. undulatum)
Wood wakerobin (T. viride)

You can read more about the care and propagation of T. undulatum from Plants for the Future.

 

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