How To Grow And Care For Hellebores


 

How to grow and care for hellebores is really very easy, add these beautiful, simple flowers to your garden borders this winter.

These increasingly popular flowers are a mainstay of our winter gardens, adding a wide range of colours to the winter palette as well as being one of my personal favourites. My garden wouldn’t be right without my collection of Hellebores to look forward to.

They are perennial plants and I am always excited to see their buds emerge from the soil on sturdy stems surrounded by their striking, deep green foliage.

Some varieties will flower from mid-December through to early spring, however, in recent years they have, surprisingly, been known to flower throughout the year in my garden.

They are tolerant of most soil types but prefer well-drained neutral to alkaline soils, not too wet or too dry.

There is a huge number of garden hybrids available with colours ranging from white, yellow, mottled pinks, rich reds, mauve, deep purples and almost black hues. Petals are often spotted, striped or have darker edges. Stems bear clusters of cup-shaped blooms of single or double flowers lasting several months.

Leaf shape and colour vary too with palmate, ivy leaf or holly leaf forms in deep greens, through to silvery veined lighter shades. Most are evergreen.

 

Where To Plant Hellebores

This depends on which type of Hellebores you wish to plant.

Different varieties enjoy different conditions, so do ensure that you are fully aware of which plant you have. There are types that like to be in full sun whereas others appreciate dappled or partial shade. Still, others need deep shade and prove happiest in woodland areas.

 

Types Of Hellebores

Helleborus niger

The common name, Christmas Rose, is a clue for flowering time.

It is one of the earliest flowering Hellebores, with blooms arriving mid to late December.

Give them well-drained but moist alkaline soil in a partly shady spot and they will reward you for many years.

Trim back foliage to the ground in December.

 

Helleborus orientalis

Dappled shade is best for these hybrids. The flowers appear prior to any new season leaves.

Cut back old foliage in early winter as it tends to obscure the new flowers.

 

Helleborus foetidus

This is our native Hellebore and as the name suggests its fragrance is quite unpleasant. The common name is ‘stinking’ Hellebore.

They prefer deep shade and will flower on last year’s stems. Prune back the stems to the ground after flowering finishes, as this makes room for new shoots.

 

Helleborus ericsmithii hybrids

The flowers on these are more outward facing and thrive in full sun.

Trim back any dead or discolored leaves.

 

Helleborus argutifolius

Originating in the Mediterranean, these love full sun. Their holly-type leaves are attractive all year round. Cut flowering stems back when they have finished.

 

Helleborus hybidus Lenten Rose

Lenten roses are cultivars grown from Helleborus orientalis and other hybrids.

There is a huge variety of single and double blooms.

 

How To Propagate Hellebores

Hellebores propagate very easily quite by themselves. They drop a copious amount of seeds that will quickly germinate and grow new plants.

They naturally hybridize amongst themselves, year-on-year producing new mixed varieties. I have often found new flower patterns and colours emerging from seeds left to germinate where they dropped.

You can collect the seeds to grow on in pots but I like to let them grow near the parent plant and see what comes up. It is well worth allowing the seeds to develop

Hellebores can be propagated by splitting them too.

Gently lift the whole plant and split into sections, replanting the resulting smaller portions to develop new sturdy, productive plants.

 

How To Care For Hellebores

Hellebores are hardy and easy to care for, needing very little attention.

Right plant, right place is the mantra that I stick to.

Give your Hellebores the correct conditions as stated above and they will thrive. They are as perfectly happy in containers with a well-draining growing medium as they are in the ground.

Plant them somewhere sheltered where they will be protected from the strong, cold, winter wind.

They can be susceptible to leaf spot, which is one of the reasons for removing old leaves as this will control the spread of the virus.

Heavenly Hellebores

I take so much pleasure from seeing these pretty flowers and I am sure you will too.

I prefer the older varieties which have the flowers turned down. It means that I have to make the effort to get right up to them, to turn up their faces in order to admire them fully.

Planted en-mass in the semi-shaded areas below trees or shrubs they put on a spectacular winter show when little else is in flower.

A rockery is an equally attractive home for them.

Combined with early flowering tête-a-tête and snowdrops makes for a lovely display in a sunny spot of your garden or in containers.

 

I hope that you have found this article useful, please share it with friends, family and social media. If you have any questions about Hellebores or any other of my articles please pop them in the comments box below. I always reply as soon as I can.

Happy Gardening

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