Hellebores are sturdy long lived plants that do not need a lot of attention. They flower in dark months of winter and are happy in shade or dappled sunshine.
Hellebore – Christmas Rose or Helleborus Niger
A white flower in the depths of winter from December onward.
- In Autumn you can cut the old leaves off so the flowers are visible later
- The plants self seed and germinate quite well – pot up young seedlings if you want to move them and grow on
- Plants thrive in shade and under trees
Hellebore – Lenten Rose or Helleborus Orientalis
- As the name suggests this flowers slightly later in March April
- Originally flowers had 5 petals, white with green flecks but there are now many hybrid varieties with some strong colours. I like the virtually black variety
- Hybrids crossed with Helleborus Odorus tend to be yellow and have some scent
- Fresh green foliage in spring
- Green flowers
National Collection of Hellebores
Heleborus hybridus ‘Bradfield Buttercup Yellow’ has fewer of the speckles normally associated with helebores and looks all the better for that.
‘Heronswood Yellow’ is opening its buds from January but looks good in the March sunshine.
O’Byrne’s Mellow Yellow strain is available in USA but many so called Yellow Helebores are cream and off white. Look out for any good colour and try collect seed. If the subsequent plants are not of the right colour be ruthless in weeding them out.
Helleborus orientalis Yellow Lady is not a variety I have seen.
- Preserve the Hellebore leaves as long as possible. Trim them off one by one as they begin to look tatty and by late winter any remaining old leaves should be clipped off to make room for the new.
- There are a great number of hybrid Hellebores so consider buying when they are still in flower so you get a colour you want
Hellebores can be grown from fresh seed available from Thompson & Morgan
Hellebores are not just for Christmas as in Christmas Rose there are species that are also called Lenten Roses.
Generally they bloom between December and April depending on the type and conditions.
- The majority of Hellebores are deep rooted, stout plants well-known for their thick, shiny green foliage.
- The large leaves may survive through winter but not all plants are evergreen.
- Once established, most Hellebores make drought resistant plants particularly if given some dappled shade in summer.
- Happy in shade plants will perform their best if given some sun.
- Wild species grow in open meadows with only short grass for shading the roots.
- Hellebores are acaulescent which means they have leaves but flower without stems straight from the ground