HELLEBORUS Christmas Rose, Lenten Rose

The ideal place for Helleborus is close to the front of the shrub border where nearby evergreens will protect it from the worst of the winter winds and where the welcome early flowers will be in full view. The large saucer-shaped blooms may be white, pink or purple, depending on the variety, and the time of flowering ranges from mid winter to late spring. The deeply lobed leaves provide good ground cover and the flowers last well in water. A much-loved plant which needs very little attention – dig in compost, leaf mould or peat before planting, watch for slugs in spring and water in dry weather.

VARIETIES: H. niger is the Christmas Rose – height 1-1.5 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: January (despite the popular name) to March. The flowers are white with a central boss of golden stamens – the largest flowers are borne by ‘Potter’s Wheel. The Lenten Rose (H. orientalis) blooms later, between February and April, and the petals may be white, pink or purple. H. (oetidus (1.5 ft. February-April) bears purple-rimmed yellow flowers.

SITE AND SOIL: Requires well-drained moist soil – thrives best in partial shade.

PROPAGATION: Buy young plants from your garden shop or nursery. If clumps are overcrowded divide in spring.

H. niger

H. orientalis

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