Landscape Spotlight: Lenten rose, ‘Helleborus orientalis’

Posted November 28, 2019 in Plant and Tree

One of the winter season’s finest creations is the Lenten rose or Hellebore plant. When all else has gone to bed for the winter, this bejeweled perennial is emerging to show off its long-lasting, colorful blooms, getting us through those dark winter days with a sign delivering warmer days ahead. Nothing could be more enjoyable than walking through the garden gate and plucking a few blossoms to float in water by your bedside. This evergreen perennial does double-time by naturalizing in hard-to-bloom places in the garden where all else just shows off their foliage. If you don’t already have these perennial plants in your garden, here is your incentive for a great winter garden surprise!

How to Maintain & Grow Great Hellebore Plants

Where to Plant Hellebores

Part shade to full shade in a rich, organic matter where soil conditions stay cool and well-drained is an optimum location for this landscape spotlight. Adding mulch and woodland garden companions such as ferns, toad lilies, spring bulbs, and ephemerals make a nice compliment when their blooms are absent.

If using them for the first time this season, plant in porch pots facing east to get the morning sun. However, be sure to get them out of their nursery-grown container pots since they don’t like to be root bound. After the bloom finishes, pop them into a high shade spot in the landscape to enjoy the following winter season.

Fertilizer & Pests

When in peak performance, you’ll want to give them some extra nutrition, so fertilize with a liquid form to boost their highest performance and nutrient levels.

Luckily this early winter evergreen perennial is deer and rabbit resistant. Slugs and snails don’t seem to munch on them either, which will make you want to incorporate throughout the landscape for that reason alone!

If these plants are overwatered in the summer months and don’t have adequate soil drainage, they are more susceptible to root rot.  Every three years, perennials tend to need thinning out anyway, so keep watch that these long-lasting bloomers get plenty of air circulation between them.

Hellebore Foliage Maintenance

The Helleborus x Orientalis have glossy, mid-green leaves and are more deciduous and deteriorate by November. The new leaves will emerge with the flowers, but before they do, clean up dead and damaged leaves at the end of the summer season to avoid fungal foliar diseases. Removing these leaves will give room for new, emerging growth and clean up the clutter the foliage creates.

Helleborus niger hybrids, in contrast, have more substantial evergreen foliage, and their foliage doesn’t need stripping except for the old or damaged leaves that may occur with traffic or hot weather.

Take Precautions

When working with the foliage, take precautionary measures and dig out those garden gloves. While you might like the feel of dirt under your nails, the leaves have been known to cause skin irritation, so beware. Also, this plant is poisonous and can cause abdominal distress symptoms, so keep away from pets who are prone to wander and chew.

All About the Bloom

Hybridizer Hans Hansen of Walters Gardens makes it his passion to hybridize these wonders with vibrant and colorful displays for the beholder. His Honeymoon and Wedding party series consists of the single and double flower varieties. As a rule of thumb, the lighter color petals produce the most massive blooms compared to the darker color flowers. And the single flowering types are more upright versus the doubles that give a nod or curtsy to the fertile earth soil from which it arises.

To enjoy the blooms that are facing downward, we suggest placing them on a hillside to get a full view from below of these magnificent blooms that hold their flowers for 6+ weeks or more!

Hellebores come in several shades from white to dark plum with shades of pinks, purples, and mauves in between. Green varieties also exist, so mixing them collectively in a group planting would be an excellent way to assure a picturesque winter-time garden to view from the warm confines of a bedroom window on a cold winter morning.

Your Winter Garden Experts

If you’re dreaming of a winter garden with beautiful assortments of peeling bark trees, berried shrubs and evergreen bloomers, a chat with a landscape designer can certainly help polish your plan! MasterPLAN Outdoor Living is passionate about making your outdoor living spaces beautiful and enjoyable all season, every season.

Aiming to partner with our clients in their outdoor living transformation journeys, we specialize in reimagining the landscape and facilitate the entire design/build process starting with our 3D designs, Love your Design guarantee through construction and post-project property wellness!

Serving the Poconos, Lehigh Valley through the Mainline of Philadelphia and western New Jersey, we would love to open the conversation for transforming your backyard into an outdoor living space that is custom-tailored to your family and your happiness! When you’re ready to reach out to MasterPLAN, we are ready to listen!

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