INFORMATION ABOUT TROUT LILY…
By: Nikki Phipps
Image by Chris Waits Trout Lily is of the Erythronium family. Most of the Erythronium species are native to North America. Overall, the flowers of the Trout Lily come in shades of yellow, white, or pink and bloom in mid-spring. To successfully plant Trout Lily, put the base of the bulb 3-inches below the surface and space 5-6 inches apart if you’re planting clumps.
The Trout Lily bulbs benefit from partial shade, thriving beautifully in woodland settings. Although dry soil is not much of an issue in the summer, during the spring, Trout Lily requires moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil as most Trout Lily species do not like hot, arid conditions. The Trout Lily tubers dry out quickly so plant the tubers as soon as possible.
Plant Trout Lily in early fall about 6 inches deep in sites having light to medium shade. These plants make good specimens for rock gardens and for naturalizing in woodland or shade gardens. The Trout Lily tubers multiply each year and can be propagated by removing the small tubers from the ground and dividing.
American Trout lily (E. americanum), also known as Adder’s tongue, is a North American native. Its nodding, yellow lily-like flowers hover above green and purple-mottled, ground-hugging foliage. The Trout Lily plant reaches heights between 6-12 inches, and flowering might not take place for a year or two.
Another Trout Lily , commonly known as the Dog’s-tooth violet (E. dens-canis) has white, pink, or purple flowers and mottled leaves. This is one of the most difficult species to grow and requires more sun than other Trout Lily varieties. Use this plant as edging along wooded paths, streams and ponds or in rock gardens. It’s also the only Erythronium species native to Europe and is found as far east as Japan. This Trout Lily’s common name derives from the fact that the root of this particular plant resembles a dog’s tooth.
Another species of Trout Lily includes the Fawn lily (E. californicum). This plant has creamy-white flowers with yellow or orange centers and mottled brown and green leaves.
The Avalanche lily (E. grandiflorum) is native to the northwest coast of North America and is quite similar to the American Trout lily; however, it is much larger and showier. The leaves are not mottled, and it has yellow blooms. This species also prefers higher elevations and cool, moist climates. It makes an attractive meadow planting.
The Glacier lily (E. montanum) is native to the Pacific Northwest in alpine regions and meadows. This Trout Lily species grows in sun or light shade, and its white flowers look lovely massed in rock gardens.
Western Trout lily, or Pink Fawn lily (E. revolutum), has deep lilac-pink flowers and can be slow to establish. ‘White Beauty’ is a hybrid of the species and has lovely large, white flowers. The leaves are spotted with brown.