How to Grow Helleborus the Christmas Rose

Tree Branch

About Growing Helleborus in Your Home Flower Garden

Growing Helleborus flowers reward you with one of spring’s earliest bloomers. You can find it growing along with, or even before, the crocuses appear. Native to Europe and western Asia, these attractive perennials have a long blooming period. Helleborus is an evergreen plant, with leathery leaves. You can find Christmas Rose flowers blooming under trees, or in naturalized settings. Bowl or saucer-shaped flowers grow in clusters, in colors of pink, white, mauve, light purple, and rose.

Helleborus flowers have a rose-like shape. It is sometimes called the “Christmas Rose” because, in warmer areas, it can be found blooming in December at Christmas time. In colder regions, it blooms in spring around Easter, and is referred to as the “Lenten Rose”.

Helleborus plants, flowers, and roots are poisonous. Keep young children away from this plant. Deer will not bother them. Moles and voles will leave them alone, too.

Helleborus looks great in the flower garden and naturalized settings. Plant them under deciduous trees, where little else will grow after the leaves are back on the trees.

Flowers Bloom: Late winter to very early spring, shortly after the soil begins to thaw.

Plant Height: Most varieties grow 1′ to 1 1/2′ tall.

Other Names: Christmas Rose, Lenten Rose, Lion’s Foot, Oracle Rose

Perennial, Renunculaceae

Perennial Helleborus Plant Propagation

You can propagate Helleborus through seeds, or division of rhizomes from established clumps.

Dig up and replant rhizomes in the late spring or summer, after the blooming period is over. Prior to transplanting, add plenty of compost or other organic matter at the new site, and mix it into the existing soil.

How to Grow Helleborus Flower Plants

Helleborus is easy to grow, low maintenance perennial.

The plants thrive in light to full shade. Being a very early bloomer, they do well in cold soil but do not like the hot soils of summer.

The soil should be rich but well-draining. Mix in organic matter or compost before planting. 

The soil should be moist, but not wet. The rhizomes can rot in extended periods of wet soil.

After the blooming period, allow the plant to continue to grow, to “re-charge ” the tubers for next year. Deadhead the spent blooms, to promote new foliage.

Provide winter wind protection for Helleborus. In the spring, the leathery evergreen leaves could be scorched or tattered. Remove any winter-damaged leaves.

Ideal Soil pH: 7.0 – 8.0.

Insects and Plant Disease

In wet weather, Helleborus can experience leaf spot and crown rot.

To help minimize the risk of crown rot, plant Helleborus plant sin slightly elevated, well-draining soil.

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