Clintonia Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Clintonia plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Clinton's Lily, Queen Cup, Bluebead Lily, & Corn Lily: Cultivation & Garden Use

Clintonia is a genus of woodland plants that are hardy perennials in nature.

Clintonia has green tongue shaped leaves. They bloom in the late spring with pink, white, or yellow bell shaped flowers.

They range in height from about 20 cm to 60 cm (8 to 24 inches).

Common names for some of the members of the Clintonia genus include Queen cup, Corn Lily, Bride's bonnet, and Bluebeard.

Clintonia uniflora
Clintonia uniflora (Queen's Cup) by Brewbooks.

Clintonia Picture by Chuck B.

Clintonia borealis
Clintonia borealis (Blue-bead lily) by Peupleloup.

Clintonia Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Clintonia: Andrew’s, Red, White, Bluebead, Bead Lily, Bride’s bonnet, Corn lily, Queen cup, Clinton’s Lily.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 5 to 24 inches (13 to 60 cm).
Native: Northern America, East Asia.
Family: Liliaceae.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.
Flowers: Late spring.
Flower Details: White, pink, yellow. Bell-shaped. Umbels. Six tepals.
Foliage: Green. Long tongues. Oval. Hairy.
Sow Outside: Cover seed. Late summer from fresh seed. Seeds should first be sown into flats. Next sink the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Keep an eye on the flats to ensure that the soil remains moist and to check if seedlings have emerged. After two years of growth, transplant the seedlings to their final location in the autumn. Spacing 6 to 9 inches (15 to 23 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: one to three months. Temperature 55 to 60°F (13 to 18°C). Early spring. Transplant outdoors in autumn.
Requirements: Full shade. Good drainage. Acidic soil, rich soil, moist soil; can be grown on sphagnum moss. Regular watering during warm periods. Keep Clintonia roots cool by supplying a mulch of leaf mold. Propagate: by dividing by in the spring.

How to Grow Clintonia Species

If planning to grow Clintonia plant from seed outdoors, then fresh seed should be sown in the summer.

Clintonia should be sown into flats that have been sank in the ground in a shady area, and seed lightly covered. The flat should then be covered in glass. After two years of growth the seedlings should be transplanted.

If you plan to grow indoors first, then they should be started at the end of winter. Seeds usually take from between one to three months to germinate.

Clintonia seedlings should be planted into a shady area in the autumn, with a spacing of about 18 cm (7 inches). Ideally the soil should be rich and acidic.

Caring for Clintonia in the garden

Clintonia should be watered regularly during the summer months.

I hope that you found this guide on how to grow Clintonia plants in your garden. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Tricyrtis, Lilium plant, and Nomocharis plants.

Common Questions

How many members does the Clintonia genus have?

The Clintonia genus includes around 5 species.

Do members of Clintonia make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Clintonia plants, known for their attractive leaves and bell-shaped flowers, are a great choice for woodland gardens or shaded landscapes.

Which Clintonia species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Often, gardeners choose to grow Clintonia borealis (Blue bead lily) for its unique blue berries and pretty flowers.

Are members of the Clintonia plant genus fragrant?

Many Clintonia species have a subtle, pleasant fragrance, particularly when in bloom.

What is the perfect location to grow Clintonia?

Clintonia plants thrive in shaded, cool locations with well-drained soil.

Is Clintonia invasive in the USA?

Presently, Clintonia is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Clintonia plants from my garden?

To remove Clintonia, carefully dig up the plants, ensuring that all roots are removed to prevent regrowth.


The Clintonia genus, part of the Liliaceae family, is native to North America and East Asia. These perennial plants are known for their broad, glossy leaves and clusters of small, bell-shaped flowers in white, yellow, or green, which bloom in spring or early summer, often followed by attractive berries.

To grow Clintonia, plant them in a shaded location with moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil. They can be grown from seeds or divisions. Regular watering is necessary. They are often used in woodland gardens or as ground cover for their attractive foliage, delicate blooms, and berries.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Clintonia plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ Liliaceae growing guides: How to grow Lily, Tricyrtis, Nomocharis lily, and Tulips.