Plant of the Month — Hellebores
‘Walberton’s Rosemary’ Hellebores
AT A GLANCE
Latin name: Helleborus niger x Helleborus orientalis ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’
Common name: Lenten rose
Flowers: Winter into mid-spring
Mature size: 24” tall x 24” wide
Exposure: Part sun to shade
Water usage: Medium
Sources: Mail order or local nurseries
Winter is upon us, and the holidays are around the corner. Our garden clean-up is complete, annual color is setting roots, and thoughts of snow are on our minds. Annual color is easy to add to the landscape, but what to plant in perennial borders for added winter color? Helleborus is the answer! This perfect shade-loving, evergreen specimen blooms in the dead of winter. Also known as Lenten rose, Hellborus features strong, stiff, dark green leaves that are heavily lobed, like those of a maple.
At the Dallas Arboretum Plant Trials, there have been more than a hundred new cultivars of Helleborus planted over the past three years. I have seen more work within this genus than most others combined. Trial results have shown that niger species and/or hybrid-crosses perform the best in our North Central Texas climate. ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’ is a hybrid-cross that puts on a show winter through mid-spring.
Most Helleborus are slower growing, take time to establish, and hold their flowers beneath the foliage. ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’ is the exact opposite. It is extremely vigorous, establishes quickly, and holds its burgundy-pink flowers high above its foliage. This robust plant stands 24 inches tall with the same width. It is the complete package. ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’ does not have classic stiff, dark-green, blotched foliage, but solid, medium-green foliage with a bit of flexibility.
‘Walberton’s Rosemary’ is the perfect addition to any perennial border. It makes a fun specimen planting or is perfect planted in a mass. ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’ is also a nice addition to a container, adding flavor to your holiday decor. Plant it in filtered light or shade. I get some of my best results when I plant it in early spring. Hellebores are mild feeders that do not want to be over-watered. Find them at you local garden center or on-line.
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