Known as the Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger is well recognised in the garden for providing long-lasting, flowering, winter interest. These hellebores, with their bright, downward-facing, white flowers penetrate the winter gloom, making them real show-stoppers at this time of year.
As one of the few perennials which bloom in the cold season, here’s what you need to know about them:
- Hellebores is not actually related to the rose family at all, belonging in fact to the buttercup family.
- They can be grouped into those which have single, semi-double, or double flowers.
- Double flowering hellebores are shorter in stature, making them ideal for potted displays.
- Different species of hellebore can flower from December right through to March.
- They can be planted into sun or semi-shade and will tolerate most soil types as long as the drainage is good.
- Dead leaves should be removed to avoid the spread of fungal and viral diseases which cause black spot and dead stems can be cut back to the ground.
- They produce seeds readily to keep your supply of new plants coming. If growing from seed, sow in late summer and leave outdoors for germination to take place in winter. The flowers will take around two years to appear.
- If you are looking for a deer-proof plant, hellebores is disliked by deer and other animal pests prone to munching on plants.
- All parts of the hellebore plant are poisonous if ingested, so take care to keep children and pets away.
For a truly seasonal display, plant hellebores with other winter beauties like cyclamen, winter aconites, or winter-flowering heathers for long-lasting impact. The evergreen, perennial hellebores has a long flowering period and can last well into spring, bringing you months of joy for minimal effort.