Hellebores, Lenten Roses

Photo: Golden acorus and hellbores contrast dramatically in late winter garden.

So named because they look like roses (if you stretch it) and they bloom around the time of Lent. My guess is you had already figured all of that out.

What you might not have known is how handsome these could be in your very own garden. Here are some simple details.

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Location and planting…
Flowers of many types hang downward, so may be best viewed from elevated locations;

Highly organic planting soil (several to many inches of peat, compost, rotted manure, finely ground bark mulch, humus, etc.);

Raised beds that drain well;

Shade from the hot afternoon sun in the summer.

Go well alongside ferns, hostas, Texas Gold columbines, decorative sedges and other shade-loving plants.

Photo: Bed of rose-colored hellebores is in bloom with lovely downward-facing blossoms.

Care during the growing season…
Light application of high-nitrogen fertilizer as new growth begins in late winter;

Keep soil moist at all times;

Dust with Sevin or use snail and slug bait to eliminate these pests as needed;

Groom plants to remove dead foliage as needed.

Nurseries have hellebores in stock right now, but supplies go very rapidly. They are not inexpensive, so give them great bed preparation before planting, and care for them regularly. They will reward you for years to come.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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