Hellebores used to be the domain of plant collectors. Recent hybridizing has introduced several easy growing, readily available varieties. Hellebores have rose-like blossoms that are among the earliest flowers to bloom. In Zones 7 , H. orientalis can bloom outdoors at Christmas Time. In colder zones, Hellebores will break through frozen ground, early in the spring.
Common Name(s): H. foetidus - Stinking Rose
H. niger - Christmas Rose
H. orientalis - Lenten Rose
4-9 (depending on species)
1 ½' - 2'
Bloom Period/Days to Harvest:
December to April (depending on species and climate)
Long blooming flowers, mostly in creamy shades of white, tinged with green and/or pink. Foliage is lobed and often pedate. Flower shape resembles a rose. The colors tend to change or deepen as they age.
Prefer partial shade and a rich, moist soil. They can be divided after flowering, in late spring or early summer. Named varieties do not grow true from seed. H. foetidus
and H. argutifolius
do not divide well. Generally pest free. Watch for slugs and aphids.
Maintenance If foliage is winter worn, it can be cut back to basal growth in the spring, before flowering.
Hellebores are one of the first perennials to bloom in the spring and their foliage will remain attractive into the summer, so they are suitable for splashy, mass plantings. They also complement foundation plantings and are ideal for woodland gardens.
H. foetidus Wester Flisk - Red tinge to stems and leaf stalks (1 ½ ', zones 6-9)
H. x hybridus Phillip Ballard - Dark blue, almost black flowers. (1 ½ ', zones 6-9)
H. x hybridus Citron unusual primrose yellow blooms (1 ½ ', zones 6-9)