Creation: Free Design

Care tips

General information
The Helleborus is also known as the Christmas Rose, Winter Rose, Lenten Rose and Hellebore. There are 20 different species of Helleborus, some of which are evergreen and some of which are deciduous. Since the plants are poisonous, care should be taken when removing a flower or leaves. These plants produce flowers from December to April, the exact time depending on the variety. This makes the Helleborus one of the winter-flowering plants. The Helleborus prefers to remain in its original planting location.

The Balkans are home to the highest number of Helleborus species. Two species are indigenous to the Mediterranean islands: Helleborus argutifolius on Corsica and Sardinia, and Helleborus lividus on the Balearic Islands. Two others are indigenous to Asia: Helleborus vesicarius in Asia Minor (southern Turkey and northern Syria) and Helleborus thibetanus in China.

When planted in the garden, the Helleborus can tolerate temperatures as low as around -20°C as long as the plant is located out of the wind (it prefers a sheltered position). If such is not the case, the flowers can become damaged. If the Helleborus is planted in a pot, it would be a good idea during a hard winter to bring it inside where the temperature will not exceed 10°C.

Where to plant a Helleborus
The plant prefers partial shade but can tolerate more sun if the soil does not dry out. The best soil is well-drained (moisture-retentive but not too wet), calcareous, fertile and enriched with plenty of humus. A sheltered location protected from the wind is preferable.

Leaves and flowers
When the flowers become visible in the winter, you can trim away some of the leaves in order to see them better. It is also a good idea to remove unattractive leaves from the plant early in June; often the new leaves are already emerging from the centre of the plant.

By removing the flowers at the end of May, you encourage flowering during the coming winter. By leaving the flowers on the plant, they will produce seed which may germinate to produce new seedlings. These plants, however, will not have the same characteristics as the parent plant, so their flowers may be a different colour. It will also take another year for a seedling to start bearing flowers.

You can apply an organic fertiliser such as cow manure in the early spring and in the autumn. Applying an organic mulch will also be very beneficial.

The Helleborus can be damaged by aphids and slugs. To control pests, get advice from a garden centre, for example. If you see black spots on the leaves, this could be the result of Hellebore leaf spot. Remove all diseased leaves and dispose of them in the organic waste bin. If Hellebore leaf spot is a widespread problem, ask a garden centre, for example, about the best way to protect the plant.