Tellima grandiflora is a rosette forming perennial grown for its fresh green foliage and attractive flower spires. The plants form a tidy clump of bluntly lobed, rounded leaves and in late spring and early summer are topped by lime-green airy spires 75cm (30in) tall with delicate white, sometimes fragrant, small cup shaped flowers that often fade to light red.
Related to, and similar to Heuchera and Tiarella, Tellima make excellent semi-evergreen groundcover, they thrive in moist shade between flowers in a border and make a good filler for separating strong shapes or bright colours.
Tellima grandiflora is very adaptable and very easy to grow in many types of conditions. It is not fussy about soil, drainage or amount of water and it needs no fertiliser. Fully hardy in all of northern Europe, the plants can withstand temperatures down to -20°C (-4°F).
The plants tolerate wet soil and are drought tolerant once established. They are a good choice for dry shaded areas such as under trees. However, they are seen at their very best in light, dappled shade in a wild or woodland garden, or in a shady border grown among hostas or hardy ferns.
Commonly called ‘Fringe cups’ the name comes from the small, bell-shaped flowers with five reflexed fringed petals which look like tiny ‘fringed cups’.
Sowing: Sow in Spring or Autumn
Sow seeds in a tray of seed compost at 10°C (50°F) and place in cold frame to germinate. Germination is irregular 14 to 90 days. Prick out seedlings into trays of potting compost when large enough to handle, and grow on in a cold frame or nursery bed, until planting out in the following spring.
Place the plants 15cm (6in) apart in well-drained, moist soil. Add a light application of organic fertiliser to the planting hole. Set the plants no deeper than they were in the container. Mulch around but not on top of the plants with 7cm (3in) of organic compost. Water well until the soil is completely moist.
Tellima are best grown in shaded or part shaded areas in a moist soil. In drier areas additions of peat moss and other organic materials aid moisture retention.
Remove the faded flower spikes once the plant has finished flowering. The plants can get a little worn looking by midsummer when covered with dried flower stalks. Simply prune the plants to the ground to get some fresh, neat looking new growth.
Lift and divide congested colonies in spring and apply a generous mulch of well-rotted garden compost or compost leaf mould around the base of the plant.
Tellima grandiflora for the most part is a well-behaved garden plant. It self-sows in place that it is happy, if this is not needed remove the spent flower wands soon after they finish blooming. The seedlings are very easy to lift when they pop up in unwanted places, and are very easy to transplant to fill in any gaps.
Ground-cover, shade garden, beneath trees, rock gardens or borders, natural woodland gardens.
Plant en masse for best effect.
Tellima grandiflora is native to the western states of North America. It can be found in moist woodlands from Alaska south into California and east into Montana and Idaho.
Tellima grandiflora is the only species in the genus Tellima. Tellima comes from the Saxifrage family, Saxifragaceae which has given us many familiar garden plants such as Saxifraga, Heucheras, Tiarella and Fragaria, the Strawberry.
The etymological root of the binomial name Tellima is said to be an anagram of Mitella, from which the genus was separated. Mitella is from the Greek diminutive mitre, i.e. ‘little mitre’, referring to the seed pod shape.
The species name grandiflora is derived from the Latin grandis meaning ‘large’ and flora meaning ‘flower’.
It is commonly known as Fringecups or Bigflower Tellima and sometimes commonly called False alum root.
The name Fringecups coming from the small white, bell-shaped flowers with five reflexed fringed petals which look like tiny ‘fringed cups’.
Heuchera, Tiarella and Heucherella: A Gardener's Guide” by Charles Oliver.
Charles Oliver describes the varieties that gardeners are likely to find for sale at nurseries and give a list of the cultivars that will perform best. The full range of heucheras is covered, from ones for the perennial border to those for naturalising or growing in troughs with alpines, and also describes and critique heucherellas and tiarellas. The related mitellas and tellima are included, too.
Other chapters are on the history of breeding work with these plants and on how the traits of the wild species came to be combined as they are in the modern hybrids. There are also many colour photos.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 50mg Average Seed Count 750 seeds Family Saxifragaceae Genus Tellima Species grandifora Common Name Fringecups, Bigflower Tellima Other Common Names Fringe Cups Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Small lime-green cup shanped flowers Natural Flower Time Late spring to early summer Height 20-30cm (8-12in) Spread 20-25cm (8-10in) Position Medium to heavy shade. Soil Moist, well-drained, organic soils