White Trillium with Deformed Leaves


There is a patch of established, large white trilliums in my backyard garden. The leaves of some of the trilliums are deformed as you can see in the attached photo. The soil is sandy and acidic and the patch grows right next to a path on the east side of a large boxwood shrub. The other plants growing nearby are solomon’s seals. The woodland garden is sunny in early spring and becomes shaded by large red oak trees as the leaves are coming out. Would you know why the leaves are curling and what should I do about this? Thank you for your assistance.


Hello – While I can’t be sure from your photo, it looks to me like the leaves on your trilliums have been physically damaged early in the season.  As they are close to a path, possibly the clump was accidentally stepped on by a passerby – human or animal.  I had a similar experience in my garden last year where a clump of trillium was stepped on by a service person working in my garden when the leaves were about 10 cm tall.  The leaves looked distorted all season but the clump is looking wonderful again this year.

As this is an established clump, your trillium has obviously thrived in this site.  The location under your oak tree sounds ideal. Check for any changes that have occurred in the site that would make it less hospitable to your trillium. They thrive in a well drained soil with lots of organic matter and a neutral to slightly acidic pH in full to part shade.  They are not affected by any serious pests or diseases.  Otherwise, expect your trillium to return to good health next year.