How to Grow Hellebore & Caring Guide

Hellebores bloom from late winter to early spring, often while the ground is still covered in snow, and are a delightful sight.

From white to black, hellebore flowers come in a variety of types.

Nodding hellebore blossoms, one of the earliest blooms seen in many places, are generally fragrant and long-lasting.

The work of growing hellebores is well worth the gardener’s time.

Hellebore plants, in addition to their stunning and distinctive flowers, have attractive, green foliage that enhances the landscape.

Hellebore care is minimal after the plant is established. Deer and other plant-eating pests avoid this herbaceous or evergreen perennial.

Keep children and dogs away from all parts of the hellebore plant, which is toxic.

Tips for Growing Hellebores

Hellebores should be planted in filtered sun or a shady area in well-draining organic soil when starting from seed or division.

To ensure a long-term supply of hellebores, choose a location with plenty of room for development and plenty of direct sunlight.

A few hours of dappled light is all that Hellebores require to thrive in shaded settings.

Hellebore can be planted under deciduous trees, in a forest garden, or in a naturally shaded spot.

In order to keep the hellebore looking its best, soak the soil where it is growing.

When older leaves begin to show signs of damage, it’s time to remove them off the hellebore.

When it comes to hellebores, proper fertilization is an important part of their maintenance.

A lack of blooms can be the result of too much nitrogen being applied to the soil.

Hellebore seeds should be sown in the autumn. Hellebore seeds need a moist chilling period of 60 days before planting.

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If you live somewhere with a chilly winter, you can let nature take its course by sowing seeds in the fall.

Young plants produced from seed typically take three to four years to produce flowers.

Divide overgrown clumps in the spring, after flowering, or in the autumn to prevent them from becoming too overgrown again next year.

Types of Hellebores

Helleborus orientalis, the Lenten Rose, is one of the earliest winter bloomers and has the broadest range of colors of all the hellebore kinds.

Smelly bear foot or bear paw hellebore, Helleborus foetidus, has pastel green flowers and has a peculiar scent that some people loathe, thus the common name “stinky bear foot.”

During the colder months, the bear foot hellebore’s foliage is divided and serrated, developing a deep scarlet. Deep red to burgundy can be used to outline flowers.

More sunlight is needed for this hellebore plant than for its eastern cousins.

The Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger, has 3-inch (7.5 cm.) white blossoms.

There are a wide variety of flower hues to choose from when it comes to hellebores.

The upkeep of hellebore plants is straightforward and well worth the effort.

Hellebores, which bloom in the spring in the shadow of trees or shrubs, are excellent choices for your garden.


Hellebores should be pruned in the late winter or early spring when the plant is just starting to put on new growth.

Older stems and leaves should be crowded out by the newer development. Pruning shears can be used to remove ragged, old growth as necessary.

As near to the base as possible, remove the old growth.

Propagating Hellebore

Propagation of Hellebores is possible through division. Before they bloom in the spring, the optimum time to divide them is in the late winter.

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To observe where the crown buds are, it’s easiest to dig up the entire plant and remove the soil with a shaker or hose. A minimum of two buds should be present in each division.

It is ideal to start from seed with Helleborus foetidus and Helleborus argutifolius.

Hybrids, on the other hand, can generate seeds that don’t resemble the parent plant, making it difficult for them to reseed.

Plants from seeds may look like a hybrid, but they may also look like a member of one of the parent species.

Once the seedlings are grown enough to handle and have formed full leaves, you can transplant them to a new position in the garden.

Growing Hellebore From Seeds

Because hellebore seeds degrade quickly, it’s best to start from scratch each time.

Containers containing fresh seeds can be placed outside all summer long.

Germination might occur in the fall or the following spring, depending on how well you take care of the soil.

It is best to plant the seeds you have collected from the pods of developing plants as soon as possible because they will germinate quickly.

They will, however, fall dormant if left out of the soil for an extended period of time. Dormancy cycles might take up to a year or more to complete.

Before planting hellebore seeds that have been stored, they must be stratified.

If you want to start seeds indoors, you’ll need to be more precise than if you’re doing it outside.

To begin, place the seeds in a bowl of boiling water and let soak until swollen.

This could take up to a few days. After that, plant them in a potting mix-filled pot for six weeks at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Move the pots to a place that is at or below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and they will last longer.

If you wait another four to six weeks, you should observe sprouts and germination.


Hellebores are resilient enough to withstand the harsh winters without much care.

At the first glimmer of spring, they’re usually ready to go again.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Except for aphids2, few insects affect hellebores. Horticultural oil or similar pesticide might be sprayed on the affected areas.

Leaf spot and downy mildew are two frequent ailments caused by fungi, and both are treatable with fungicides if the illness is serious enough.

The Black Death is the ominous moniker given to one particularly severe sickness.

As a result, plants become stunted and exhibit black streaks.

Virus-borne Helleborus net necrosis infects plants and is spread via aphid bite.

If a plant is infected, the only option is to completely remove it from the landscape. Aphids can transmit this disease if they are not dealt with.

How to Get Hellebore to Bloom

Both spring and fall are suitable times to plant hellebore bulbs. Depending on the species, it could take up to two seasons for some to bloom.

If the young plant was driven into bloom too early, the blooming may be delayed. Flowering time varies from species to species and from the environment to the climate.

Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) can bloom in December for zones 7 and warmer but rarely does in colder climes till April.

A month or more of blooming is expected from the majority of species between December and April.

For beautiful foliage but a severe lack of blossoms, avoid over-fertilizing the hellebore with nitrogen4.

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