Need to jump into spring before the snows recede? Well, let Nature Hills Nursery introduce you to the Hellebore!
Shy nodding blooms in often moody, sultry colors, these are among the first spring ephemerals to push up through the snow! Found growing native throughout Europe and Asia. The roughly 20 known species of Helleborus species are mostly found along the Mediterranean Sea, and coasts along the Black Sea. Also known as Christmas or Winter Roses, Lion's Foot or Oracle Rose, and Lenten Roses, there are just a few things to know about growing these early bloomers!
Not only well-known as the earliest spring bloomer, but Hellebores are also very shade-tolerant plants! Creating neat and tidy clumps of growth appears as early as February, specifically around Lent - hence their name Lenten Rose! Though not a true Rose, these hardy, herbaceous perennials are actually in the Buttercup family! They thrive in USDA growing zones 3 and 4, up to warmer zones 8 and 9. The foliage is evergreen in the warmer zones, but in the colder zones, it will turn brown or get damaged and should be picked off.
Similar in look flower-wise to Anemone, these are long-lasting blooms, both in-ground and in the vase! You’ll enjoy having the option of picking flowers while still bundled up for winter! These are also a boon for early emerging pollinators and bees, offering up vital nectar to sustain them until other blooms show up! Their streaky, mottled, and colorful modified petals seem to always look right at home anywhere in the dappled shade garden!
Hellebores form basal clumps of palm-shaped, glossy foliage that can be semi to fully evergreen in warmer climates and the colorful sepals mimic petals to protect the smaller flowers at their centers. Since these showy and colorful sepals don’t drop once the flowers fade, this results in a much longer-lasting color display! Modern varieties and hybrids now have scented blooms and double petals!
These are incredibly resilient perennials and incredibly easy to care for! In the landscape, these are deer and rabbit resistant, and work great in shade gardens and partial sun/part shade! The leathery foliage shrugs off cold and exposed winter locations, but do give them the cover of larger shrubs, later emerging foliage perennials, or the shade of trees to protect them from the summer's heat.
Preferring to grow in about any kind of well-drained, moist, and enriched soil that is slightly acidic to neutral in pH. Provide Helleborus with plenty of compost and organic matter, and Hellebores will grow beautifully for you! Plus, topdress with a 3-4 inch thick layer of arborist mulch to keep the roots cool, protected, and moist. Once situated, avoid moving your Lenten Rose since they dislike being moved.
You can plant Lenten Roses in large containers that have winter and heat protection, but they will need insulation to keep their roots happy.
Wear gloves when handling because they can affect the skin and do not ever ingest these plants.
Cold-hardiest Helleborus include the USDA zone 4-9 hardy FrostKiss™ line of Lenten Rose and then there’s the baby pink and cream Ivory Prince that is cold-hardy down to zone 3!
Or try a mixed assortment of creamy dreamy purples, near-black, white, pale greens, yellows, pinks, rosy, and red flowers in the cold-tolerant Royal Heritage Strain Lenten Rose mixed pack!
Try planting these smaller clumping and mounding perennials among your spring ephemerals and bulb gardens, mixed among larger and later emerging shrubs and perennials so these heat and sun-shy plants have a place to hide throughout the summer.
Get a head-start with the lovely spring beauty that only the elegant Lenten Roses provide your landscape this year and jump into spring with both feet with the help of Nature Hills Nursery today!