Ciscoe Save Me: Dividing and transplanting trillium

Master Gardener Ciscoe Morris explains how to divide and transplant trillium 

Master Gardener Ciscoe Morris explains how to divide and transplant trillium.

Trilliums are not only easy to transplant in full-bloom, you can divide them while you're at it. I learned this years ago when a woman, who was also moving, offered to allow me to dig a huge native Trillium ovatum to sell at a Master Gardener plant sale. I had my doubts about the wisdom of digging up a trillium in full bloom, but I decided it was worth a try. Then as I dug the plant, the rootball started falling apart.

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Since the plant was practically dividing itself I realized that I could make a lot more money for the cause if I divided it and sold the divisions rather than the single plant, so I used my hands to coax the bulbs apart. Before I was done I had 12 rooted bulbs. I kept one and potted up and sold the rest, warning potential buyers that I had no idea if the divisions would survive. That was over 20 years ago, and I still run into people who bought one of the original divisions. In every case the trilliums thrived and most of them bloomed the following year. The division I kept for myself, grows to over 3 feet tall and wide every spring. Since that time I've successfully divided several other Trilliums in full-bloom. Just remember to make sure there's a stalk attached to each division, plant them in shady woodsy sites and water carefully for the first season. Before you know it, you'll have big spectacular native trilliums blooming away all over your garden.

Gardening with Ciscoe airs Saturday afternoons at 1:30pm on KONG and Sunday mornings at 11:30am on NWCN.

For more information about Ciscoe Morris, visit