Bigflower tellima – planting, care and tips

Bigflower tellima (Tellima grandiflora)
Bigflower tellima (Tellima grandiflora) - by Toedrifter

The robust wild perennial bigflower tellima has a number of advantages that are only visible at second glance.

Profile of bigflower tellima:

Scientific name: Tellima grandiflora

Plant family: saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae)

Other names: fringecups

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: from spring to autumn

Flowering period: May to June

Location: partially shaded to shady

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: ground cover, group planting, under wood planting, borders, natural garden, forest garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 6

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of bigflower tellima

Plant order, origin and occurrence of bigflower tellima

Tellima grandiflora is a perennial that originates in western North America and occurs in damp coniferous forests and forested gorges. The bigflower tellima belongs to the large saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae) and is closely related to the alumroot (Heuchera). It is the only species in the genus Tellima. Sometimes the plant is also known as a fringecups.

Characteristics of bigflower tellima


The plant forms dense leaf cluster, from which the grape-like inflorescences protrude far in late spring. Tellima grandiflora grows about 50 to 70 centimeters (20 to 28 in) in bloom and the individual clusters reach a diameter of about 30 centimeters (12 in).


The light green, stalked foliage of bigflower tellima is almost round to broad heart-shaped, three to nine times lobed and hairy. The individual leaves can be about four to ten centimeters (1.6 to 4 in) tall. They take on a reddish brown color in autumn and thus survive the winter on the plant.


The bigflower tellima blooms from May to June with long-stemmed, racemose inflorescences, on which there are about 14 to 30 hermaphrodite single flowers. They have greenish sepals, five greenish-white to rose-colored petals that have grown together and fray strongly towards the tip. As inconspicuous as the color of the flowers is, at a second glance the flowers look so pretty from up close. They even smell.


The pollinated flowers form oval capsule fruits of around eight millimeters (0.32 in) in size. They each contain about 100 to 150 small, dark brown seeds.

Bigflower tellima (Tellima grandiflora)
Bigflower tellima (Tellima grandiflora) – by Kurt Stüber

Bigflower tellima – cultivation and care


The bigflower tellima likes to grow in the light shade under and in front of deciduous trees.


Tellima grandiflora wants a humus rich, rather low-lime and well-drained soil that should contain sufficient nutrients.


The wild perennial can be planted from spring to autumn. If you want to use fringecups as ground cover, you plant around eleven plants per square meter (10 sq ft). Otherwise, you plant groups of three or five specimens.


Bigflower tellima is self-seeding and can also be easily propagated by dividing the cluster in spring or autumn.


Tellima grandiflora needs regular watering and let the soil dry every once in a while.


Adding some compost in spring is enough, but not necessary.


The robust, easy-care plant needs little attention. If you want to prevent to seed itself, cut the flower stems back to the leaf crest in summer before seeds can form.

Diseases and pests

Tellima grandiflora is robust and less susceptible to pests or plant diseases.


The bigflower tellima is also hardy and does not need to be protected.

Use in the garden

Tellima grandiflora spreads quickly under deciduous trees or on the partially shaded edge of the wood. Even in the rather shady front yard, the plant is a grateful, wintergreen ground cover.

The variety ‘purple carpet’ has reddish flower stems and red-brown foliage all year round.

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