PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum)

For fierce gardeners, Trillium holds a special place in the heart and the garden. It’s hard to find in most nurseries and is not often cultivated because starting from seed takes many years to achieve a sellable plant, and they grow and spread so slowly that it still takes years to get any quantity of divisions. Then there are nurseries like ours, which operate on a smaller, more intimate scale with the plants we love. We don’t mind waiting. When they are finally ready, it makes our Trilliums that much more special.

Trilliums, also called Wake Robins, are a treat when you find them along woodland trails throughout the Pacific Northwest in March and April. They only grow a few inches tall, maybe to a foot, and are identified by their distinctive three leaves arranged in a triangle and a three-petaled flower perched on top. Flowers are most often white and age to pink, lavender, and reddish. You’ll find them nestled into the forest floor and frequently snuggled up to the base of trees. They like it shady with maybe a little direct sun for a couple of hours.

Trilliums are not a protected species in Washington but they are fragile when they are blooming (which is when you know where they are) and wild harvesting can easily damage the plant and set its growth back a year or two. It’s best to treasure the pleasure of spotting them on your walk through the woods, but leave those wild ones to get on with their life undisturbed.

Find them 10-5 Tuesday-Sunday.>