Heavenly Hellebores

Hellebores, or Lenten Roses, are one of the few plants that bloom in winter. They are happiest when planted under deciduous trees, so that they receive full sun in winter (when no leaves are on trees) and are shaded during the heat of summer.

Keys to success:  Don't plant too deeply, or they will die.  Don’t allow mulch or leaves to collect over the crown, or they may rot.  Water them only until established. Wet soil is deadly. No regular irrigation, please.

Hellebores reseed readily, but typically do not come true. What does that mean, exactly? Seeds from a plant with purple blooms may grow into another plant with purple blooms. But it is equally likely that the new plant will have pink or green blooms. I consider this a bonus. (If you come from a software development background, consider this variability an “undocumented feature.”) And they all have different freckles and whiskers that give them individuality.

Use this Thrifty Gardener trick: Put a few plants at the top-most part of a sloping garden bed. Nature and gravity will work together to sow seeds down the slope. In just a few years, you will have a full bed.

To make your plants look their absolute best, keep an eye out for the emergence of new growth. When you see fresh green leaves coming from the crown, grab your pruners and remove all the old, ratty foliage. See the before and after photos, below.

Remove Tattered Leaves.JPG
After Cleanup.JPG