Advice & Guides

Hellebores in winter

Hellebores in Winter

A welcome sight in late winter and early spring, the hellebore provides a feast for the eye.  Christmas rose or Lenten rose as they are commonly known come in hundreds of different varieties and providing you have a part-shaded or fully shaded spot with a humus rich soil and good drainage, then growing hellebores is easy.

Most hellebores are classed as herbaceous perennials; however, many are evergreen and will have something to offer your border all year round. But I’m sure no one can deny they really come into their own once the blooms have opened and they can demonstrate their elegance and beauty to full effect. Hellebores will flower for a couple of months, usually from late February right through until late April. They emerge when winter still has hold over most of our garden plants, and carry on delighting us daily until spring is in full flow and a vast array of spring and summer flowering perennials take over.

By far the most common, and understandably so, are the oriental hybrids; Helleborus x hybridus. These are seed-raised and are known for their toughness and low-maintenance. The variety of single flowers, double flowers, speckled flowers and endless colours will entice and enthral even the most passive of gardeners. Here, we cut our leaves off (usually in the lead up to Christmas) as low to the ground as possible to prevent disease and to allow the magnificent blooms to be shown off to their best.

If your soil is on the dry side, then Helleborus x nigercors is a good choice. A hybrid between H. niger (Christmas rose) and H. argutifolius (Corsican hellebore), this is a bold, evergreen plant loaded with usually white flowers fading to green later. Another ideal hellebore for doing well in dry shade and providing year-round interest is H. foetidus. Deeply cut foliage and long-lasting, muted, yellow-green flowers make this species a great companion plant.

Plants to compliment hellebores

With their dark green foliage and flowers ranging anywhere between pure white and deep, plum-purple it’s good to get the most from your hellebores. As large, clump-forming perennials it’s important to give them enough space to form a good strong root-ball and showcase their beautiful flowers. But around them, you can give the whole garden a lift by planting various Galanthus (snowdrops) for a touch of class or Narcissus (daffodils) for that splash of bright yellow to off-set the different colours of the hellebores.

Having a backbone of winter-interest shrubs like the strikingly bright, fiery stems of Cornus (dogwoods, available on-site) or sweetly-scented, evergreen Sarcococca (Christmas box) will enhance your borders over the winter months and into spring as well, bringing the whole garden to life.

Choosing a hellebore from the masses that are available may be a hard decision to make if unsure of what you want. The best advice is to come to our nursery when they are in flower and look close at the different species, hybrids and cultivars we have to offer, so you can pick one out that will give you and your garden the wow factor.

Hellebores in winter

Comments (2)

I bought my first hellebore in 1990 after seeing a photograph in 'The Green Tapestry'. I visited the gardens that year and as a weekend gardener, have continued to be inspired by Beth's approach to plants and gardening. I am hoping to visit the gardens again this summer.
Gail Sheldon | 04/02/2018
Es un lugar ENCANTADO, las plantas hablan y nosotros agradecidos.Gracias
Leonor Genoveva Alberoni | 29/03/2017
* required field
Related Articles
Nepeta (Catmint)- how to grow and care for
Nepeta (Catmint)- how to grow and care for

This much-loved perennial is easy to grow, loved by pollinators and a very attractive addition to the garden.  In early summer, these reliable plants produce an abundance of mostly lavender-blue flowers, held above grey-green foliage.

READ ARTICLE
23rd June 2022 IN Advice & Guides
Top 10 unusual plants for a shady area
Top 10 unusual plants for a shady area

Beth opened her plant nursery, then named Unusual Plants, in 1967. Her catalogues of plants were divided into sections determined by different growing conditions enabling customers to search for plants specific to the conditions on offer in their own gardens.

READ ARTICLE
13th June 2022 IN Advice & Guides
How to use biennial flowers in the garden for a naturalistic look
How to use biennial flowers in the garden for a naturalistic look

Beth was known at Chelsea not only for her naturalistic planting style, but her choice of ‘natural’ plants - species plants rather than cultivars - notably those plants that the RHS at that time didn’t consider to be garden worthy; wildflowers like foxgloves and mulleins. Opinions and priorities in plant choice have shifted and now they have become much-loved, not only for their appearance but because they are an excellent source of pollen for insects.

READ ARTICLE
9th June 2022 IN Advice & Guides
 
COMPARISON BASKET COMPARE