Wake Robin plant is a perennial, and can reach between six inches and one and a half foot in height.
These plants are very hardy, and will give you very little trouble so long as you match their natural habitat (more on this below).
They flower very early in spring and the season lasts till the beginning of summer – so these flowers will make your garden beautiful when most other plants are still dormant or just beginning to put out shoots.
The leaves are large and flat, and most of the parts of the plants occur in threes, which is the reason this is called a ‘Trillium’.
The flowers can be red, pink or white, and more rarely, yellow or maroon in colour, and how the flowers occur differs from species to species – some species have flowers that are large and that grow singly, while others have clusters and whorls.
Generally speaking the soil should be rather acidic, though there are other considerations as well – I’ll be going into that shortly.
Propagation can be a problem with Wake Robin Plant, as they spread very slowly, if at all. I would suggest that you plant a rather large quantity of them, rather than rely on them spreading.
Also, it would be best if you don’t attempt to divide them when they are growing and have put out shoots or flowers – you’ll likely just kill the plant.
Similarly, you shouldn’t touch a Wake Robin that you find growing in the wild – leave it alone. If you uproot or attempt to transplant it, again, it’s just likely that you’ll kill the plant. If you really want to divide your plants you’ll have to do it while they are dormant.
Despite these issues, these flowers are exquisitely beautiful, and will truly welcome spring to your garden and set the mood for the rest of the warm season.
Growing the Wake Robin Plant
The Wake Robin is a lily, and a natural woods-dweller.
This means that to grow it successfully you will have to try to create for it the same environment that it has evolved to grow in.
Just try to visualize the natural environment of this forest dweller – shady wooded haunts where a plant living on the forest floor is perfectly protected from the sun, where the ground retains its moisture, but is not really swampy, and especially where lots of fallen leaves provide a fertile and organically rich soil in which plants like the Wake Robin thrive in.
It’s not hard to replicate this environment – plant these beautiful flowers in a shaded place where they will be very well protected from the sun, and add lots of leaf-compost. Of course other kinds of compost work well too, but leaf compost is the best.
The location you choose to plant them can also make a considerable difference. At the very least these flowers should be planted so that the shade of a house, hedge or tree falls over them completely during the hottest part of the day.
For best results they should really be planted under a tree, and evergreens work best, as the constantly falling needles greatly enrich the soil.
Cultivating Wake Robin Plant
Remember that this plant takes three years to even germinate if grown from seed, so it would probably be best if you bought the plants rather than try to cultivate them yourself. When you plant them, remember that the roots have to go in at least a foot, and slightly more than that if need be.
Wake Robin Plant is a Trillium; all its parts come in threes. A member of the lily family and grows wild in the woods. You can visualize the leaves of deciduous trees piled up and decomposing. That’s the sort of environment you will want to duplicate.
This shade gardening flower loves rich humus laden and moist soil with lots of mulched leaves. They like their soil on the acidic side. So create that environment before you plant them and you’re sure to have success.
The bloom appears in early spring before the trees leaf out. They bloom for 2 to 3 weeks in maroon, pink, red, white and yellow. A very slow spreader, so plant in mass, and be prepared to have some patience waiting for them to grow.
Trilliums are always worth the effort. These are shade tolerant flowers that do not want to be disturbed. What I recommend is dividing while still dormant. Do this in the fall.
If you find one in the wild please leave it where it is. The odds of its survival if you try to move it are not in your favour and we don’t want to lose a disappearing natural beauty such as this.
Buy your plants from a nursery or a catalogue, and create the best environment you can. Lots of leaf mould, rich, well drained acid soil, and enjoy your gardening shade flower.