I Love Lenten Rose Hellebores

Mar 25, 2016 | Gardens

Name:  Helleborus orientalis aka Lenten rose hellebore.

Type of Plant:  This is a perennial that is evergreen and grows best in part shade to full shade. They often form seeds and spread, and can naturalize where they are happy.

Why I love this: These perennials flower for a very long time in the garden. There are several species of Helleborus but there are two main types that are typically found in gardens, H. orientalis and H. niger. The Christmas rose (H. niger) begin flowering in November or December, and the Lenten rose hellebores flower from late-January into April depending on your location and the weather.

A Word to the Wise:  Since the flowers of the Lenten rose plants hang down, if you have a shady slope or terrace that is a great place to plant these hellebores, especially if it’s a spot that you frequently pass in late-winter and early spring.

Plants in the genus Helleborus grow best in organically rich soils that don’t dry out. They also do well in a neutral to slightly alkaline pH, so don’t plant them around plants that like acid soil such as Rhododendrons.

Sometimes the leaves of a hellebore can look a bit winter-worn, so don’t hesitate to prune damaged foliage off at any point. But if you want these plants to spread, don’t cut off the old stems – let the seedpods remain on the plant.

Note: hellebores have tremendous variation when they grow from seed so be prepared to be surprised about flower color and other characteristics. I’m looking forward to seeing what the offspring from my plants look like! Note: The garden shot here is of Helleborus that I got from LentenRose.com. Nice folks – check them out.

You can see the nodding nature of the Lenten rose flower in this photo. I'm fortunate to have a walled shade garden  that's about four feet above my driveway, so I can look at these at almost eye-level.

You can see the nodding nature of the Lenten rose flower in this photo. I’m fortunate to have a walled shade garden that’s about four feet above my driveway, so I can look at these at almost eye-level.

These plants are from www.LentenRose.com - they are especially lovely this winter since they haven't been constantly buried by snow.

These plants are from www.LentenRose.com – they are especially lovely this winter since they haven’t been constantly buried by snow. 

Yellow too! This one is called 'Sunshine Ruffles' - I took one look at this plant at Hyannis Country Garden and said "You're coming home with me!"

Yellow too! This one is called ‘Sunshine Ruffles’ – I took one look at this plant at Hyannis Country Garden and said “You’re coming home with me!”

2 Comments

  1. Judy Vaz

    Went to Hyannis Country Garden to look for pansies and came home with ‘Sunshine Ruffles’ as well. In the fall of 2014 I purchased a half dozen hellebores (end of season sale) and kept them in a sunny, but cold breezeway where I enjoyed them as I went in and out of the house… they bloomed all winter. Planted them last spring and they were spectacular this past winter. I am so sold on this plant!

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      You’re right, Judy – Hellebores are one of the longest-flowering perennials!

      Reply

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