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.

Common Questions

How many members does the Tellima genus have?

The Tellima genus, also known as Fringe Cups, includes just one species, Tellima grandiflora.

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

Yes, Tellima grandiflora is a charming woodland plant that adds an attractive texture to shade gardens, borders, or groundcover plantings.

Which Tellima species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Tellima grandiflora, the only species in this genus, is commonly grown by gardeners.

Are members of the Tellima plant genus fragrant?

While not typically known for their fragrance, Tellima plants offer attractive, subtle flowers and textured foliage.

What is the perfect location to grow Tellima?

Tellima thrives in partial to full shade with moist, well-drained soil, making it perfect for woodland gardens or shaded borders.

Is Tellima invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

At present, Tellima is not considered invasive in the USA. Always consult local guidelines for the most accurate information.

How do I remove Tellima plants from my garden?

For removing Tellima, simply dig up the entire plant, including roots, to prevent any potential regrowth.


The Tellima genus includes perennial plants native to North America. They are valued for their attractive, fringed flowers and foliage, and their ability to thrive in shady locations where many other plants struggle.

To grow Tellima, plant seeds or divide established plants in spring. They prefer partial to full shade and well-drained, humus-rich soil. Regular watering is essential, particularly during dry periods, but overwatering should be avoided to prevent root rot.

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.