Triteleia (Brodiaea)


Attractive summer flowering bulbs. Although slightly tender, they are reasonably hardy when planted in a sheltered spot, at the base of a south-facing wall.

Family: Asparagaceae (asparagus family)
Botanical Name: Triteleia (trit-uh-LEE-uh) (syn. Brodiaea)
Common Names: Cluster lilies, spring starflower, triplet lily

Foliage: Green, narrow, strap-like leaves. Deciduous (dies back after flowering).

Flowers: Tubular, star-shaped, six petal flowers, clustered at the top of slender stems. Ranging in colour from blue to mauve.

Flowering Period: July to October.

Soil: Well-drained fertile soil (sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun. Plant in a south, east or west facing aspect, in a sheltered location.

Habit: Upright, tufted.

Type: Cormous perennial.

Origin: West coasts of North and South America.

Hardiness: Hardy in coastal and mild regions of the UK.

Planting and Growing Brodiaea

Grow in a sheltered spot in full sun, ideally at the base of a south facing wall. They will grow in most types of free draining soil, except heavy clay.

Plant bulbs in early autumn at a depth of 2.5-3in (6-8cm), spacing 3in (8cm) apart. Prepare the soil first by forking it over and incorporating a handful of general-purpose fertiliser. Best grown in large groups rather than individually.

Useful for planting between shrubs. Shorter varieties are suitable for patio pots and containers.

Excellent as cut flowers.

Taking Care of Triteleia

Protect from frost and excessive winter wet. Once established they should flower for several years in mild areas of the UK.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free

Propagating Triteleia

Remove and replant offsets every four years or so.

Popular Varieties of Triteleia

Sold in packs either under the name Triteleia or Brodiaea.

Triteleia 'Corrina' (syn. grandiflora) produces large, blue-mauve, star-shaped blooms in late spring/early summer. Height to 18in (45cm).

Triteleia ixioides (prettyface or golden star) bears loose umbels of yellow star-shaped flowers, each petal marked with stripe of a different colour. Height to 20in (50cm).

Triteleia laxa bears loose clusters of deep lilac/blue tubular flowers from early to mid summer. Height to 24in (60cm).

Triteleia 'Rudy' bears loose umbels of white flowers with broad violet-blue stripes down the centre of each petal. Height to 18in (45cm).

Triteleia x tubergenii is similar to B. laxa but with pale lilac flowers. Height to 18in (45cm).