Helleborus: Beautiful, long lasting, winter/early spring blooms
During the cooler winter months, do you long for your spring and summer garden? A rainbow of hues that dance with the slightest breeze? Well, long no more — helleborus (pictured to the left) will provide you with beautiful long lasting color during winter months, and will continue to bloom well into spring.
Helleborus is a late winter, early spring blooming perennial that has beautiful, long lasting, nodding flowers in shades of white, cream, pink, rose, red and maroon. Often, these lovely flowers have contrasting spots that seem to jump off the petals of each flower. These exquisite plants will provide your garden with colorful blooms from February through May, depending on variety. While not in bloom, evergreen leathery foliage will add interest to your shade garden. Helleborus blends well with other shade plants, such as Brunnera, Ferns, Hosta and Tiarella.
Helleborus grow best in Zones 6-9 and are most happy in shaded areas, with a little dappled sunlight (a woodland garden is ideal). They prefer alkaline, humus-rich soil that is well drained, so make sure to add plenty of organic matter when planting. All varieties require moisture early in the year (during their flowering period), but will tolerate moderate drought during the summer months. Also, all species have a strong dislike of soils that are extremely wet or dry, so make certain to find the right balance. Starting with nursery grown plants usually yields the best results and, with any luck, you may find that your plants will self seed!
If you are like most, you prefer to purchase your helleborus while it is in bloom. With so many choices, who could blame you? There are many different varieties and colors to choose from, and each are very unique. We have many varieties of helleborus at Fairview Greenhouses andGardenCenter(listed below), and some are in bloom right now!
Although, when shopping for helleborus, don’t be put off by their somewhat moderate price. Helleborus are very time consuming to produce and it takes them quite awhile to become established. Once you make the initial investment, you will be richly rewarded for many years to come. They will begin to produce beautiful flowers that are long-lived and unlike any other. In addition, they are deer and vole resistant — quite a lovely plant. Note: Leaves, stems and roots are poisonous. It is best to wear gloves when working with helleborus as some people develop a rash if their skin comes in contact with the sap from the foliage.
Below are the varieties we currently have available at Fairview Greenhouses andGardenCenter. Other varieties will be ordered later, though most are ordered by the end of spring.
— Helleborus argutifolius (Corsican Hellebore): Yellow-green flowers striped with purple contrast with coarse, spiny evergreen foliage that resembles holly leaves. Blooms mid winter to early spring. Grows 18″-24″.
— Helleborus foetidus (Bearsfoot Hellebore): Light green blooms edged with purple. Blooms late winter to early spring. Grows 18″-24″.
— Helleborus orientalis ‘Red Lady’ (Lenten Rose): Red buds on red stems open to very full nodding flowers ranging from smoky pink to dark maroon. Blooms mid winter to early spring. Grows 18″.
— Helleborus orientalis ‘White Spotted Lady’ (Lenten Rose): White flowers with dark, spotted centers. Blooms early to mid spring. Grows to 20″.
— Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’: Ivory flower buds flushed with pink, ivory blooms backed with a warm rosey shade, bluegreen foliage. Blooms mid winter through spring.