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Hellebores

Hellebore - pink Christmas Rose

Helleborus                                  

Hellebores are winter hardy evergreen shade perennials that bloom late winter in colors ranging from pure white to pastel green to deep purple.  The flowers are either nodding or face upward. They are deer and rodent resistant and only require that the older leaves be pruned off when the new ones push through. 

There are many varieties, and some have fragrant flowers.  They prefer well drained organic soil and filtered sun or shade.  Fertilize yearly with a product that has lower nitrogen and higher potassium and phosphorous.  Flower tone by Espoma works well.  The only pruning that is required is to remove older leaves when they look tattered or damaged. 

Hellebores are in the Ranunculaceae family and there are over 20 varieties.  Helleborus foetidus or the Bear Foot Hellebore can handle a little more sun than the others, has uniquely serrated leaves and the flower is a pastel green.

Hellebhellebore niger magentaorus niger, known as the Christmas Rose, is hardy in zones 3-8.  In the warmer zones it blooms around Christmas.  It has pure white rose like flowers.

Other varieties include Helleborus argutifolius, orientalis, and x hybridus and they all bloom in the late winter through spring.  Not only do bloom colors vary with varieties and species but the leaves can be powdery blue, green or variegated. Once they finish flowering allow the flowers to fall and they will readily self-sew near the existing plants.  If you want to collect seeds do so in late spring through early summer once the flowers are fading and capsules swell.  Remove shiny black seeds from capsules and sew in areas that you would like.  Lightly rake in but do not bury.  As the sap of the hellebore can be caustic, I would recommend wearing gloves during this process.

The hellebore is a long-lived plant and does not tolerate transplanting very well.  If you must transplant do so when they are young or seedlings. 

For late season flowers, and deer resistance the Hellebore is a great addition to the garden!

 





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