Alpine Garden Society

Ulster Group

Plant of the Month, February 2018
   Trillium pusillum v ozarkianum - by Susan Tindall
I exhibited a plant of Trillium pusillium var ozarkianum at the Dublin AGS show in April 2017. Getting this plant to show standard has taken me many years to get the rhizomes to flowering size, indeed I cannot be sure how many years, maybe 10 or 12years.

I obtained the seed from the New Zealand Alpine Garden Society seed list, it was a trillium I knew very little about, selected on the basis I did not have a plant of Trillium pusillum var ozarkianum in my collection of Trillium.

Growing from seed is a long process, especially the trillium family. I would have sown the seed in the summer time as that is when the NZAGS seed arrived through the letterbox; it would have taken a year to germinate, and once germinated, it would have been about 6 to 7 years before I had the first flower growing on a 15 cm flower stalk. I seem to remember there was only one flower the first year of flowering but still very exciting to me. For the first two years I kept the seedling in the same pot I had sown them in, to give the small seedlings a chance to grow and put on a good root system. After two years I increased the pot size to a square litre pot, careful not to disturb the roots, and again I would have left them in that pot for two years, by then the rhizomes had increased in size therefore more flowers. The following spring, early, before the trillium came in growth, I placed the plants in a round 2 litre pot.

Trilliums grow best in acid compost - I use peat and plenty of grit, with added slow release fertilizer, and keep the compost moist. Every plant grower will have their own recipes, and stick to the ones they trust.

The natural habitat where Trillium grows is in woodland of beech oak trees in the Ozark Mountain areas of southern Missouri and Arkansas.