Grow Hellebores, the Happy Harbingers of Spring

Grow Hellebores, the Happy Harbingers of Spring

No garden is complete without a few of spring’s first bloomers,  Hellebores. Just when you think winter will never end, up come the Hellebores, classy, colorful, and just in time.

Here are six Hellebores we adore, each with its own particular allure. Fall in love with their color, petal shape, and forms. And look forward to season after season of beautiful — and bountiful —  blooms. After a few years, you can expect your mature Hellebore to produce 50 or more (yes, 50+!) flowers each season. That’s a lot of joy for a plant that takes so little space, blooms in shade, and is oh-so-easy care. Grow these six, beautiful, and deer-resistant Hellebores in your late winter or early spring garden. BONUS: Typically, deer don’t usually munch on Hellebores, either.

Want a few more Hellebore ideas? Explore all Hellebores

6 favorite Hellebores (zones 3 – 9)

Winter Jewels® Cherry Blossom Lenten Rose

Extremely vigorous, with rich cherry-red centers thanks to 20 years of hand breeding and selection. Zone 4 – 9. Learn more

Cascade™ Picotee Lenten Rose

Soft, white double blooms painted with plum veins and picotee edging. Deeply lobed foliage. Zone 4 – 9. Learn more

Winter Dreams® Double Fantasy Christmas Rose

Pure, gleaming-white,  semi-double blooms with ruffled petals. Outward facing blooms atop compact, toothy foliage. Zone 3 – 9. Learn more

Winter Jewels® Black Diamond Lenten Rose

Purple-black single blossoms adorn vigorous clumps of foliage. Plant en masse or add a few clumps to a bed of white. Zone 4 – 9. Learn more

Winter Jewels® Amethyst Gem Lenten Rose

Double, cup-shaped jewel-toned blooms edged with a gentle opal picotee. Sturdy, thick stems. Zone 4 – 8. Learn more

Winter Jewels® Apricot Blush Lenten Rose

Peachy-apricot blooms sparkle with speckled, darke rose veins and picotee edges that last for weeks. Zone 4 – 9. Learn more

How to make your Hellebores happy

Hellebores are hardy and easy to grow, with a wide range of happiness zones from 4 – 9. If you have reliable snow cover during the coldest months, your Hellebores can be tough enough to survive even in zone 3.

  • Soil: Hellebores grow best in moist, well-draining soil enriched with generous amounts of organic matter. (Site them where it’s damp, but not wet.)
  • Soil pH: They also prefer a pH close to neutral, even alkaline. Add lime if your soil is extremely acid.
  • Light: Prefer full shade to partial shade. NOTE: Designers often plant Hellebores under deciduous trees for a wintery show, then foliage gets cover shade in summer.
  • Feeding: Feed in fall with balanced fertilizer or with bone meal.
  • Pruning: Foliage that emerges before flowers (or that's leftover from last season) can look winter-tatty. You can prune this old foliage off as the Hellebore starts to flower, which will leave you with bare Hellebore stems (not a bad thing). Or, if you don't mind the winter imprint on the foliage, prune out the old foliage when new leaves start to come out, about two months after bloom starts. Either approach is fine for your plants. It all comes down to your aesthetic and personal preference.
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