I enjoy this plant as it is one of the first plants in my garden to grow in the early spring. The Helleborus arrives after the Snowdrops, which come out in March, but comes in before the Daffodils are even an inch tall.
People often call them Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose but I know them as Hellebores. They have deep green waxy or leathery leaves and flowers which appear shortly after they come up. As you can see from the pictures my plant starts coming up in the spring as a purple colour and is full of buds. The flowers, on mine, are pink but they can be white, cream, light green, mauve & purple and the blooms last for a very long time, something like 6-8 weeks.
I was told they were evergreen, but not so in Ontario. I like this plant as they do keep there leaves all winter but in the spring the old leaves just fall away and the new purple growth comes up which is very pretty. When I saw this the first year I thought it had died over the winter but thank goodness that was’nt the case. They like to grow in rich well-drained soil in dappled shade. They don’t like very dry or very wet soil. They say you should shelter them from strong winds and you should put mulch around the plant in the fall. Mine does quite well beside the deck and I have clay soil which I layer with leaf mulch.
This plant is great for a shade garden or a woodland garden. I would suggest you plant this flower in the front to middle of the garden bed as it is only 15″ to 18″ high.
CAUTION: Please be aware this plant is considered poisonous to cats, dogs, horses and is considered to be deer resistant. I just learned this tonight so I did not know this when I bought this plant a few years ago. Thank goodness, my sheltie is not a puppy and does not dig or pull up plants in the garden. I have always kept a little wire fence around the plant, because the dog has knocked a few leaves off of it when she is sniffing around in the garden. The leaves seem to break off at the bottom of this plant when knocked so it ruins its nice shape. I was protecting the plant from the dog who knew I had it backwards all these years.
Over the few years I have had this plant I have so enjoyed its arrival every spring. Now that I know it will survive in my clay soil I was planning on getting another Helleborus, but in a different colour and one with a broader leaf. I was hoping it would spread but it has not so far.
I would love to hear from you. Do you have Helleborus in your garden and what are your experiences with this plant.