How to Grow Tellima Plants

Guide to Growing Fringecups, and Bigflower Tellima

Tellima are hardy perennials that reach about 60 cm (2 feet) in height.

They have bronze or green heart shaped leaves and bloom in the summer, When they carry bell-like flowers of white, which later transform to pink.

Some of the more common names for Tellima plants include Fringecups, Bigflower tellima, and False Alumroot.


Tellima grandiflora
Photographs of Tellima grandiflora - Fringecup by nordique.

Tellima Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Fringecups, Bigflower tellima, False Alumroot.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
  • Height: 24 to 32 inches (60—80 cm).
  • Native: North America.
  • Genus: This genus contains only one species: Tellima grandiflora.
  • Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.

  • Flowers: Late spring to early summer.
  • Flower Details: Greenish-white turning to purple or pink. Spikes. Bell-shaped. Five deeply fringed petals.
  • Foliage: Herbaceous. May be evergreen in milder climates. Cordate. Green, Bronze. Rounded.

  • Sowing: Surface. Germination time: one to three months. Spacing 18 to 24 inches (45—60 cm).
    Seed: Method 1: Seeds should first be sown into flats in the autumn. 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. Bring the flats indoor at the beginning of spring and keep at 60°F (16°C). Transplant seedlings in the autumn.
    Seed: Method 2: In the spring, sow seeds on a moist growing medium in flats. Wrap in a large plastic bag, and then stratify by refrigeration for three weeks. Then bury the flat as described above. Once seedlings emerge transplant them to their final location.

  • Requirements and care: Full to partial shade. Rich, moist soil. Requires a cool soil so add mulch in spring and autumn. Propagate: by dividing in the spring in cooler areas or the autumn in warmer areas.
  • Family: Saxifragaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Astilbe, Bergenia, and Micranthes.
  • Miscellaneous: Traditionally used by the Native American Skagit tribe to treat sicknesses associated with loss of appetite.

How to Grow Tellima Species such as Fringe Cups

It is probably easiest to grow fringe cups and other Tellima from divided plants in the spring or autumn.

If you plan to grow plants from seed, then sow in the autumn using fresh seeds. The seeds should be sown into flats and sank into a shaded part of the garden. They should then be covered with glass, and the soil kept moist. It can take anything from one to three months for the Fringecup seeds to germinate.

Once it starts to get really cold, bring the flats indoors, and then keep at a temperature of about 12 to 15 degrees (54 to 59°F). Put the flats outside again in the spring.

Once you have seedlings (or divisions from other Tellima plants), transplant them to their final location in the autumn. Use a spacing of about 40 to 60 cm (16 to 24 inches).

They should be grown in a shady or partially shaded location of the garden. They prefer a soil that is moist and rich.

Caring for Tellima

Once established, it is pretty easy to care for Tellima plant members. They like a cool soil, so supply a mulch in spring and autumn. They also like a moist soil so water when it is dry.

It is important to control the plant once established, as it can become invasive.

If you require more plants, then it is best to propagate the Tellima plants by division. This can be done in either spring or at the start of autumn.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Tellima plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Bergenia and Rodgersia plants.