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How to grow hellebores

How to grow hellebores

Every garden needs a hellebore or two! These beautiful, low-maintenance plants grow well in shady spots, their distinctive palmate leaves adding texture and interest all year round. In winter, when everything else is cold and grey, they produce clusters of big bell-like flowers in gorgeous soft shades of pink, purple, red and white. With different varieties flowering from mid-winter to spring, hellebores are sometimes called Christmas roses or Lenten roses. They're great for winter gardens, adding colour when little else is in flower. They're also good for wildlife, providing a winter food source for pollinators. Here's how and where to grow hellebores for winter colour.

Where to grow hellebores

Hellebores do best in dappled shade but will also grow in the sun, provided the soil doesn't dry out. When planting, dig in plenty of organic matter like garden compost or leaf mould to give them a good start. Once established, hellebores are very low-maintenance plants. They will even cope with dry shade; their bold leaves make an excellent backdrop for other flowering plants.

How to grow hellebores

Hellebores are very easy to care for. Mulch annually in autumn with compost or well-rotted farmyard manure, and cut back the old leaves in autumn or spring once the new growth starts to appear to reduce the spread of hellebore leaf spot, a fungal disease. Removing the old leaves also makes the flowers easier to see when colour in the garden is at a premium. Hellebores self-seed and cross-pollinated easily, so you will likely see lots of new seedlings around your plants. Unfortunately, new plants that result from cross-pollination tend to have rather muddy, muted flowers, so it's generally best to deadhead the flowers before they can set seed. Alternatively, remove the new seedlings as they appear and grow them in pots so you can choose the ones with the best flowers to keep.

Here's a few of our favourite Hellebores

  • Helleborus 'Pretty Anna Spotted' has lovely single white flowers with attractive purple flecks on the petals that are produced from late winter into spring.
  • Helleborus 'Penny's Pink' is a lovely pink flowered hellebore that is loved for its pink veined evergreen foliage as much as its flowers that are held for a long period through spring.
  • Helleborus niger is called the Christmas rose because of its early flowers, which appear from January onwards, with some cultivars flowering in time for Christmas. Pristine white or pink-flushed, they stand out beautifully against the dark green foliage.
  • Helleborus 'Cheryl's Shine' is another hellebore wth attractive dark green foliage that is marbled with cream, with pink flowers produced from winter into spring.

If your garden needs some winter colour, come in and see our fantastic range of hellebores and other winter-flowering plants. Your garden will thank you for it!