Non-blooming trout lilies!

prussell(z8 WA)March 22, 2009

I'm writing on behalf of my mother on Signal Mountain, outside of Chattanooga, TN. She has a large stand of trout lilies that have been thriving and proliferating for about 8 years without ever producing a bloom. Anyone know why? They are co-mingling with other blooming things--daffodils, solomon's seal, jack-in-the-pulpit, bloodroot, etc. The plants are very happy, but no blooms.

What gives?


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If they are the native species, Erythronium americanana, then that is not unusual. They spread by producing lateral offshoots (stolons) from the mother bulb, but very rarely bloom and produce seed. Sorry!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 10:20PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Taken from the link below...
This species can be found in colonies of sterile, one-leaved plants along with a few fertile, two-leaved plants.

I have colonies of these also, and they are mostly one leaved plants, and there are only a few blooms on the ones with 2 leaves. I assumed that the single leafed plants were just immature. I wonder if they are sterile because they are just immature of if they will just remain as one leafed plants.

I read somewhere that it takes them seven years to bloom from seed.


Here is a link that might be useful: Erythronium americanum

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 11:44PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

You might check additionally about them at The Netive Plants Forum


    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 11:46PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I don't know if this is true or not, but I've heard that the bulbs typically sold are a strain that multiplies by division rather than putting all that effort into making blooms and seed. From a grower's point of view you'll make more money on a plant that multiplies quickly, even if it rarely puts out the blooms people want.

I guess you might just be stuck waiting for a bloom to show. I've seen both in the wild, the large patches of non-blooming plants and the lonely blooming plants.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 8:18PM
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I have a similar situation, and remember reading about the practice of lifting the bulbs when they go dormant (I've always forgotten about mine at that point, so have never actually attempted this) and placing a flat stone under each one to encourage it to bloom rather than proliferate vegetatively. Supposedly this keeps them from pulling themselves deeper into the soil via contractile roots, which is a deterrent to blooming. My experience with some Amaryllids has been the exact opposite (deeper planting discourages them from splitting, thus making them more likely to bloom), so who knows? It might be worth a shot.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 3:32AM
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Well...maybe it just takes patience. I was walking by my planting of E. americanum yesterday, and, lo and behold, for the first time in almost 10 years, there are several flowerbuds poised to open. I guess sometimes you just have to criticize plants to make 'em bloom!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 2:58AM
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