Trillium luteum

yellow trillium

Outstanding Qualities

Yellow flowers are rare among trillium species, so the lemon-yellow to chartreuse flowers of this gem, with their citrus-like fragrance, are sure to win your heart. Yellow trillium's three petals reach up like translucent wings from the center of its three, mottled, olive-and-blue-green leaves. Trillium luteum does not form a tight clump like other trilliums, but rather spreads more widely to create an patch that can be interplanted with smaller perennials and bulbs.

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: burgundy, silver, gold

Great Color Partners: white, variegated, dark green

Culture Notes

Yellow trilliums are woodland wildflowers that grow best in light, open, or dappled shade. Ideally, this is a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade or the bright shade beneath deciduous trees or very tall conifers. In too much shade they will not spread or flower well, in hot afternoon sun their foliage burns. All trilliums require fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil, and the eastern North American species, such as this one, must have regular additional water during summer. Gardening with trilliums teaches the rewards of patience: young plants can take three to five years to bloom and another five to eight years to develop into a nice clump. Just remember that the wait is well worthwhile with these garden gems. Do not remove old flowers but let the seeds develop, ants will disperse them around your garden to start new clumps.

© Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Quick Facts

Plant Type: perennial

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 1 ft. 0 in. (0.30 m.)

Plant Width/Spread: 1 ft. 6 in. (0.46 m.)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Flower Color: yellow

Sun/Light Exposure: light to dappled shade

Water Requirements: regular watering