January 26, 2024 admin

Hellebores, also know as Lenten Rose, are absolute jewels in the landscape. They are an evergreen late winter or early spring blooming perennial Native to Western Europe and Western China. They belong to the family Ranunculaceae. Other family members of this group include Columbine, Anemone, Clematis & Ranunculus. Like other members of the Ranunculaceae family, Hellebores have alkaloids in the leaves and seeds that can cause mild skin irritation in sensitive individuals.

Hellebores require morning sun and afternoon shade. They will burn in the full sun in Texas. Well drained soil is best. Hellebores are a relatively carefree plant that tolerates a wide range of soils. Mature plants form clumps that are 18 -24” tall and 24-30” wide. They are drought tolerant once established but do best with consistent moisture. They are also deer resistant. They feature glossy deep green foliage and have tough, almost woody stem. They are outstanding in container gardens.

Bloom time is late winter to early spring, near Lent, hence the same Lenten Rose. The flowers are a good nectar source for pollinators. Flower buds form during the previous summer and emerge from rhizomes late winter. The blooms make good cut flowers and their seed heads are interesting in dried arrangements. The flowers are long lasting and are either a single or double bloom and range from pure white, black, pink, red, green, yellow and are sometimes spotted or speckled. The flowers are nodding and face downward. That is a natural growth pattern to protect blooms from rain and rot, since the water falls off the downward facing blooms.

The Frostkiss® Series are a unique group of hellebores that bloom later in the spring. They feature silver marbled foliage and rich colored blooms.

Hellebores are an outstanding selection for adding color, texture, and habit to a shade garden. Companion plants include other shade loving perennials such as Ferns, Heuchera, Aquilegia, Hosta, Carex, Juncus. Pair with annual color such as Cyclamen, Primrose, Alyssum, and Snapdragons.

Photo credits: Walters Gardens, Inc