Hellebores are a wonderful addition to any garden. They seem to do equally well in a sun and shade mix. They do require good drainage so plant them on a slope or add some sand and or grit to their mix. Hellebores come in a variety of sizes and colors but the most wonderful part of the plant is that the blooms come in February, March or April. The little flowers always come before the daffodils bloom. The Hellebores that bloom in February are sometimes called Christmas Roses and the ones that bloom in the very early spring are referred to Lenten Roses. When I see my Hellebores bloom I know spring is coming and I have survived another winter.
Hellebores are very long lived perennials. We have some at the nursery that we know are more than thirty years old. Some of my own are 20 years old.
The only care I give my plants are cutting the leaves back, because they grow at somewhat different times than other plants. I cut the ratty looking winter leaves off in about February so that I can better see the flowers. After flowering new leaves grow and stay pretty much the same all summer. During the fall I cut the ones back that look bad as I am cleaning up the rest of the garden. Do not cut back foetidus.
If you find little seedlings growing around the plants in the fall, make sure to prick out any that are growing inside the main plant and let the rest of them grow. In a few years time you can have a beautiful display of many flowers.
Hellebores need to be sited in a woodland, moisture retentive soil. They will develop very extensive root systems, do not place where there will be a lot of tree roots present.
Ever gardener needs a hellebore, if only so you can call all your friends in February and March and tell them your roses are blooming. We will be adding a few more varieties as we get close to spring. Photos courtesy Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.