Hellebores: The Christmas Rose

Hellebores: The Christmas Rose

In addition to the Cyclamen, Poinsettias and Amaryllis that fill our greenhouse at this time of year, we also get in pots of hellebores. Helleborus niger, commonly called the Christmas rose, is one of the few perennials that flowers in the winter on Cape Cod. Their flowers range from green to white, and because what looks petals are actually petallike sepals, they last a long time in the garden.

Hellebores make good plants for porch pots or window boxes at this time of year, especially when combined with miniature evergreens or cut greens. Their foliage is dark and the flowers bright, and they are already hardened off and ready to plant. Usually the Christmas rose hellebore continues to flower through February.

The plants we have in stock at Country Garden right now have white and green flowers. They are already acclimated to the outdoor temperatures, so can be planted directly into your pots, boxes or into the ground.

Hellebores can be planted directly into the ground at this time of year as well. Place them in a location that is partly to mostly shaded. These are perfect for planting near a door you use frequently in the winter so that you’ll admire them every time you fill your bird-feeder or walk out to your car.

This photo shows how tough the Christmas rose is…snow doesn’t bother this hellebore in the slightest.
These plants make good gifts for plant-lovers. They have evergreen foliage that’s attractive twelve months a year.

Whether you plant your Christmas rose in containers or in the ground, water it well after planting. If your plants are exposed to the normal rainfall, you shouldn’t have to water them again unless we go for two weeks without precipitation. If your containers are under the overhang of a porch, however, you’ll want to water these plants every five to six days. Should your pot or box not have a drainage hole, feel the soil to see if it’s still wet….water only when the soil feels dry but before the plants wilt.

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