Helleborus Early April

Helleborus Early April

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten Rose) is a wonderful perennial that will add beauty to your garden in early spring.  Gardeners are delighted to see such an exotic display of nodding, cup-shaped flowers blooming so early in the garden.

This perennial grows best in Zone 6 – 9, however they will grow in Zone 5 if given a protected location.  These are an invaluable addition to the spring garden.  Search your local garden center early to find this plant.

This is an easy care plant, growing in part or full shade.  Helleborous requires a moist location early in the spring when it is in bloom, but later in the season will tolerate moderate summer drought.  Prefers a rich, well-drained loamy soil.  The soil should be well prepared before planting as this plant resents being disturbed once established.

Excellent for planting around the edge of trees or shrubs as they will tolerate root competition once established and blooms before the leaves of trees and shrubs develop, adding early spring colour where you probably never had colour before.

Growing to a height and spread of 16″ – 24″.  Excellent for cut flowers, containers, borders, woodlands and as a specimen planting.  Be sure to plant this up close in your garden.

The large, tough clumps of leathery, evergreen leaves are similar in appearance to the foliage of peonies.  In late winter or early spring cut the old leaves off that are dead or discoloured before the new buds pop out of the ground.  The foliage will grow throughout the garden season after blooming and add an interesting texture.

Propagation by division is costly and slow for most growers, so most growers offer strains produced by seed.  The resulting plants vary in their bloom colour and foliage characteristics.  If your Helleborus is happy in your garden it may reward you by self-seeding.  If you are looking for a specific colour of bloom it is best to purchase your plants in the spring when they are in bloom.

In Zone 5 and cooler regions it is best to add a winter mulch of loose leaves or straw.  If your site is an exposed windy location, winter mulch is a necessity.

Helleborous niger (Christmas Rose) is also tolerant of growing in colder regions of Zone 4 – 5. A smaller plant growing 10″ – 16″ and blooming earlier, even sometimes will bloom under the snow.

 

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