Helleborus – An Early Season Gem

Helleborus, or Lenten Rose,  are one of the most reliable perennial groups around. These evergreen plants bring an architectural quality to the shady garden. Most bloom in early winter in mild climates and in late winter or very early spring where the ground freezes hard. they are long-lived and provide exquisite blooms at a time when flowers are a scarce delight. They are also dividable which means you can spread them throughout your garden over time.Best of all, deer do not eat them! What more could you ask for.

How To Grow Helleborus

Light/Watering

  • Hellebores are at their best in moist, well-drained soil in partial shade.
  • Water well during extended dry periods; they are drought-tolerant once established.

Fertilizer/Soil and pH

  • Hellebores like rich soil. They do be when a lot of organic matter is mixed into the soil.
  • Plants will benefit from a light application of granular, balanced fertilizer in early spring.

Pests/Diseases

  • Watch for slug or snail damage. These can be controlled with baits or diatomaceous earth.

Pruning

  • Although evergreen, the foliage often looks tattered in early spring. Prune back dead and disfigured foliage before new growth appears.
  • Remove old flower stems when they decline, cutting back to the base of the plant.

End-of-Season Care

  • Do not prune back now; wait until early spring and then prune off tattered and dry looking leaves.
  • An extra layer of mulch will protect the plants through the winter.

Here are some favorite varieties:

Helleborus niger – Christmas Rose

Large white flowers with orange-yellow anthers in January- March.
Glossy dark green evergreen foliage
Height 12-14 inches
Color: White
Zone 5-9

 

 

Helleborus hybridus ‘Red Lady’ – Lenten Rose

Long-lasting 2-3″ red colored blooms beginning in late winter!
Beautiful, evergreen foliage adds year-round interest
Part shade to full shade
Height: 14-18 in
Color: Red
Zones 5-9

 

Helleborus hybridus ‘Brandywine’ – Lenten Rose

Full range of colors including dark reds, spotted pinks, picotees, and apricots
Height: 12-18 in
Color: Multi-Color
Zones 4-9

 

 

Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’ – Lenten Rose

Compact upright habit
White, burgundy buds open to outward facing ivory flowers that mature pink, and then eventually green
Evergreen blue-green thick spiny foliage with dark burgundy stems
Height: 12-18 in
Colo: Ivory, Pale Pink
Zones 4-9

 

 

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