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A quick guide to Hellebores

Updated: May 14, 2023

Hellebores are often known as Christmas or Lenten roses, because they flower from late winter into spring. The thing is though hellebores aren’t related to roses and actually belong to the buttercup family. They are though great pollinators - and every garden should have some.

Purple Helebores for sale in Frome

Hellebores are classic plants for winter interest that come in a variety of colours - from greens to ruby. They are perennials with a long flowering period often lasting well into the spring. They tend to be mainly evergreen with lovely looking leaves and they love shadier spots in the garden.

Their nodding flowers (in greens, whites, pinks or plum, or even blackish–purple) sit beautifully amongst clumps of leathery, evergreen leaves. Most varieties are quite compact - 12–18in tall - but some can grow to as tall as 3ft.

Now obviously that picture is a stock image. They aren't flowering that prolifically here in Somerset just at the moment! This is what mine look like now - April. You see? I said that you'd get a clear photo of the plants that I have in stock!

Planting and care:

They grow well in fertile, moist soil, although they should be fine in most soil types. They grow well in light shade, but they’ll often also cope in a sunnier spot - provided you don't let the soil get too dry. There is even a variety - the stinking hellebore (Hellebore foetidus) that will grow happily in deep shade.

However they don't deal well with extremes – very wet or very dry soil is unsuitable, as is full sun, which can scorch the leaves in summer. There are a few Oriental hybrids that are hardy - Helleborus x hybridus but there are some that can be easily damaged by winter cold and wet - Helleborus tibetanus, Helleborus lividus and Helleborus nigerare.

Now is a great time to plant them:

  1. They like light or dappled shade with sun for part of the day.

  2. Prepare your planting area with some organic matter - they love it! Use one bucketful per square yard.

  3. They thrive in conditions that are neither very dry nor waterlogged.

  4. Plant them at the same level they were growing in their original container – they don’t like being planted too deep.

  5. Typically space space them 14–18in apart. Bear in mind that some - the larger types - need a little more space – as much as 2–4ft apart.

  6. Finally lay a mulch of organic matter over the soil to help it from drying out. Leave a gap around the base of the plant to help prevent it from rotting.

Where can I buy them?

I’m so glad you asked that. We've been selling them at The Station Approach in Frome over the past few years and you can now, of course, buy them through Plant a Border.

We're planning to be at The Station Approach every first Saturday of the month from 8am until 1pm.

Use the Contact page to get in touch and we'll be happy to let you know what we're upto.

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