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How to Grow Tellima – Fringe Cups 

Fringecups - Tellima grandiflora
Fringecups - Tellima grandiflora

Tellima – commonly called Fringe cups– is a rosette-forming herbaceous perennial that bears small, bell-shaped, white to greenish-white flowers from spring to midsummer. Tellima’s basal leaves are heart-shaped or triangular to kidney-shaped.

Tellima grows best in moist, humus-rich soil in partial shade, but Tellima will tolerate dry soil and full sun. It is drought tolerant.

Tellima is a good choice as a groundcover in a shrub border or woodland garden.

Tellima is a genus of one species. It is native to cool, moist woodlands in Western North America.

Fringecups - Tellima grandiflora
Fringecups – Tellima grandiflora

Get to Know Tellima 

  • Plant type: Herbaceous perennial 
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 5 to 8 
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 5
  • Height and width: 16 to 32 inches (40-81cm) tall and 10 to 12 inches (25-30cm) wide
  • Growth rate: Moderate 
  • Form and habit: Rosette-forming 
  • Foliage: Mainly basal leaves are heart-shaped or triangular to kidney-shaped, scalloped or toothed, and 5- to 7-lobed  
  • Flowers: Small, bell-shaped flowers, with 5 tiny petals, fringed into linear segments, relatively large calyces, and 10 stamens, are borne in terminal racemes 
  • Bloom time: Late spring and midsummer 
  • Uses: Groundcover, shrub border, woodland garden, edging for shade garden 
  • Garden companions: Ferns, blue-leaved hostas, columbine, meadow rue, fringed bleeding heart, dwarf goatsbeard, heart-leaf brunnera, dropwort, purple-leaf coral bells, bugbane, barrenwort, or astilbe 
  • Common name: Fringe cups 
  • Botanical name: Tellima 
  • Family name: Saxifragaceae 
  • Origin: Western North America 

Where to Plant Tellima 

  • Plant Tellima in partial shade; will tolerate full sun.  
  • Plant Tellima in moist, humus-rich soil; will tolerate dry soil. 
  • Topdress Tellima with 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm) of compost every fall or very early spring. 
  • Tellima does not do well in wet soil, high humidity, and heat, especially when combined, or with poor drainage.  

When to Plant Tellima 

  • Set container-grown Tellima in the garden in spring or autumn.
  • Sow Tellima in containers in a cold frame as soon as ripe or in spring. 
  • Tellima self seeds freely. 

Planting and Spacing Tellima 

  • Space Tellima 12 inches (30cm) apart.
  • Mix compost into the soil when transplanting Tellima.  

How to Water and Feed Tellima 

  • Give Tellima regular water. 
  • Feed Tellima with an all-purpose organic fertilizer in spring. 
Tellima grandiflora
Tellima grandiflora

How to Care for Tellima 

  • Deadhead Tellima to keep plants neat, unless self-sowing is important for naturalizing. 

Tellima Pests and Diseases 

  • Tellima leaves are susceptible to attacks by slugs or weevils; they are otherwise pest-free. 

Tellima Propagation 

  • Divide Tellima in spring every four or five years to maintain vigor and renew the soil; they grow by offsets. 

Tellima Varieties to Grow 

  • Tellima grandiflora, rosette-forming perennial with hairy, heart-shaped or triangular to kidney-shaped, 5- to 7-lobed, scalloped leaves, 2-4 inches (5-10cm) long. From late spring to midsummer, erect, hairy stems bear terminal racemes, to 12 inches (30cm) long, of 15-30 white to greenish white flowers, to .4 inch (9mm) long, with greenish white calyces. To 32 inches (80cm) tall and 12 inches (30cm) wide. North America (Alaska to California).   

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