Hellebores (Helleborus) are one of the few plants that will produce blooms when grown in heavy shade. This attractive perennial plant that is commonly called Lenten rose but is no way related to the rose family.
Also known as Stinking rose and Christmas rose, hellebores are beautiful evergreen plants that enjoy the shade, cold and heat, bugs won’t touch, deer despise, and blooms in the middle of winter. Learn how to care and grow evergreen Hellebores with these tips.
Hellebores prefer well-drained soil and partial shade to grow in. Select a planting location that is in the shade at least half of the day. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, all the time.
Many people plant hellebores under the wooden steps of a porch or deck, or at the base of other tall evergreen plants. These areas tend to stay shaded and moist, the ideal planting location for this blooming evergreen plant.
If you are starting hellebores from seeds, plant the seeds in winter before the soil freezes.
These delightful evergreens can be grown in pots but the pot must be at least 12-inches (30cm) deep since hellebores develop a very deep root system.
There are several species and countless varieties of hellebores. All are evergreen perennials and most will reach a mature height of 12-inches (30cm).
The plants are frost-resistant and have leather-looking leaves with saw-toothed edges. Blooms are long-lasting (6-8 weeks) and appear in late winter and very early spring. Flower colors run the gamut from white, green, pink, purple, cream, and spotted.
These hardy perennials tolerate heat and cold, love a shady spot, have no natural enemies, and need very little care. Remove old, ragged-looking leaves and spent blooms, and seed pods as needed in the late winter.
Water evenly and keep soil moist, especially during a drought.
Hellebores don’t need to be fed but you can add a 2-inch (5cm) layer of compost around the plants after pruning off the old leaves, blooms, and seed pods in late winter.
Plants are self-seeders and will re-produce from dropped seeds. Each plant will live 2-3years, so there’s no danger of plants becoming invasive. Remove seed pods from plants if the hellebores become overcrowded.
Plant hellebores with plants that have similar environmental needs to create an attractive year-round garden display.
Bleeding heart, columbine, coral bells, foam flowers, ferns, and hosta grow well in the same environment as hellebores.
|Common name||lenten rose, stinking rose, Christmas rose|
|Light||full sun, part shade|
|Soil type||clay, loam, sand, chalk|
|Soil drainage||moist but well-drained|
|Height x Width||1 x 2 feet (30 x 60 cm ) , varies between varieties|
|Flowering seasons||winter, early spring|
|Plant hardiness zones||3 – 9|