Growing Erythronium or Dog's Tooth Violet in the Spring Perennial Garden
Erythronium or dogs-tooth violet is a member of the Lily family and most are native to North America (15 out of 16). Only one species, perhaps one of the most difficult to grow, E. dens-canis, grows in Europe and as far east as Japan.
The common name Dogs tooth Violet is because the root of this particular plant resembles a dogs tooth.
In general, the flowers of this plant are yellow, white and pink shades and they flower in mid-spring. The flowers will be held approximately 12 inches above the ground but there are variations in this depending on growing conditions.
Successful Planting Tips
To successfully plant, put the base of the bulb 3-inches below the surface and space 5-6 inches apart if youre planting clumps.
Erythronium wants full to part shade to survive and thrive. This is a woodland plant think your best soil. While it has no problem with drying soil in the summer, in the spring it will want excellent soil moisture (well-drained so no standing water) and high organic matter content in the soil.
If you do not have a shady woodland garden, plant it under shrubs where it will be protected from the summer sunshine.
It is very important to plant these tubers as soon as you get them from the garden shop or mail-order nursery. They dry out very quickly when taken out of the ground. Let these sit out over the winter because youve forgotten them and theyll be well and truly dead.
Do let them sit in the same place for years and dont try to move them around. If happy, theyll multiply and you can move the small tubers.
One last hint you'll find a layer of mulch will help keep the tubers dampish. In the natural forest setting there is always a leaf litter layer to do this.
This is a beautiful plant but a tricky one to grow. Its natural habitat is a mountainous woodland area and if you can duplicate that, you might have success. If you cant then I'd simply recommend you save your money and dont bother.
This is the most common variety sold. It blooms very early in the spring at 8-10 inches tall.
Erythronium revolutum 'White Beauty'
This is a lovely mid-spring bloomer with large white flowers (brown-yellow throat). The leaves are brown-flecked and the flowers are held 6-8 inches above the leaves.>
This is a hybrid cross between E. revolutum and E. tuolumnense and this is one of the loveliest, most heavy flowering and easily found varieties on the market.
This is the best plant to experiment with in this family. The flowers are a nodding yellow type and there will be several on each stem. They are held 7-9 inches above the foliage. I note the foliage is also speckled brown.
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