IMG_4166Easter Sunday Hellebores


My Hellebores (Hel-le-bores) also known as Lenten Rose or Helleborus (Hel-le-bor-us) timed their blooms perfectly for Easter Sunday this year. I have a collection of different colors, shapes and sizes in single, double, spotted, unspotted, anemone and picotee that looked like Easter eggs floating a foot off the ground. Many colors are possible from white to magenta, pinks, mauves, yellows, blues and many other combinations. At times, I think someone painted tiny dots and edged the petals with a watercolor brush. They are lovely and look great floating in a shallow bowl on the kitchen table.

Hellebores are easy to grow and relatively care free. They grow well in zones 4-9 and prefer to grow in moist but well drained humus rich soil. Drainage is key. They must never sit in wet soil. Dappled shade is best and full shade is needed in warm areas. Water during dry spells. Fertilize lightly in the early spring and again after they bloom. Deadhead flowers and cut stems to the base to keep tidy and promote new foliage. Before planting a new Hellebore dig down 18” to loosen the soil and mix in well rotted compost. Plant the Hellebore so the crown is at the soil level.

I always leave a few flowers to go to seed. Note that it can take several years from germination to flowering and some Hellebores are sterile. Remove all leaves that looked dead or diseased. Wait until the late winter / early spring to remove last seasons leaves just as the new growth emerges. However, for some reason my Helleborus niger will not tolerate it’s leaves being cut. Best to leave that one alone.

The only downside to Hellebores is that their flowers do not face straight up; they are always nodding slightly toward the ground. If they did face straight up they would probably fill with rainwater and rot. Despite this small flaw they are easy-care, hardy and even tolerate some dry shade in my yard. The deer and rabbits keep walking by the Hellebores and never seem to stop and nibble.

They are keepers in my book.

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