Flowers of Hellebores (genus Helleborus) are a welcome sight when they bloom in late winter to early spring, sometimes while the ground is still covered with snow. Different varieties of the Hellebore plant offer a range of flower colors, from white to black. One of the earliest blooms spotted in many areas, nodding hellebore flowers are often fragrant and long-lasting.
Growing Hellebores is a worthwhile task for the gardener. Aside from lovely and unusual flowers, the Hellebore plant has attractive green foliage that is aesthetically pleasing in the landscape.
Once established, Hellebore care is minimal. This herbaceous or evergreen perennial is disliked by deer and other animal pests prone to munching on plants. All parts of the Hellebore plant are poisonous, so take care to keep children and pets away.
Growing Conditions and General Care
When planting from seed or division, place the Hellebore into well-draining, organic soil in a filtered sun or shady location. The Hellebore plant will return for many years; make sure the space will accommodate growth and has proper sunlight.
Hellebores need no more than a few hours of dappled light and grow successfully in shady areas. Plant the Hellebore under deciduous trees or scattered through a woodland garden or shaded natural area.
Soaking the soil in which the Hellebore is growing helps the Hellebore plant to look its best. Hellebore care includes removal of older leaves when they appear damaged.
Care for Hellebores should also include careful fertilization. Too much nitrogen may result in lush foliage and a shortage of blooms.
Plant Hellebore seeds in the fall. A 60-day moist chilling period is needed when planting seeds of the Hellebore plant. Planting seed in fall allows this to happen naturally in areas with cold winters. Wait three to four years for blooms on young plants grown from seed. Divide overgrown clumps in spring, after flowering or in autumn.