18 Hellebore Plant Care & Growing Guide cultivation 2022

18 Hellebore Plant Care & Growing Guide cultivation 2022

Commonly known as hellebores (/ˈhɛlɪbɔːrz/), the Eurasian genus Helleborus consists of approximately 20 species of herbaceous or evergreen perennial flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, within which it gave its name to the tribe of Helleboreae. … Many hellebore species are poisonous.

  • Genus: Helleborus; L.
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • Order: Ranunculales
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Tribe: Helleboreae

The herbaceous perennial hellebore (Helleborus) is directly related to the buttercup family. According to various sources, this genus unites 14-22 species. Under natural conditions, these plants can be found in the shady mountain areas of Europe (for example, in the Mediterranean) and Asia Minor. Most of the species are located on the Balkan Peninsula. 

In Germany, the traditional Christmas gift is hellebore in a pot. A legend says that the little food was very upset when he had nothing to give the born Jesus, he began to cry, and where the tears fell, beautiful flowers grew, the boy picked them up and presented them to him. Christ. In European countries, such a plant is called the “rose of Christ”, and in Russia – the “winter house”,

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1. Hellebore Features

The height of the hellebore can vary from 0.2 to 0.5 meters: a short, thick rhizome and a weakly branched simple stem. The leathery basal leaf plates have long petioles. They are butt-shaped or are dissected with the fingers. Cup-shaped flowers have a long stem, and they bloom at the top of the stem. Flowering is observed from the end of the winter period until the last days of June. The sepals are often mistaken for flower petals.

The petals turned into nectaries. The flowers can be coloured in different shades of white, light yellow, purple, pink, violet and pink, and there are also two-colour varieties. The flowers themselves are double and single. Many gardeners love this plant because it blooms very early, And it’s adorable when beautiful flowers appear in the garden after a dull winter. But this is not its only advantage, and it also has high resistance to frost and drought. However, when planning to plant hellebore, you need to remember that it is a poisonous plant, like all other buttercups.

Plant hellebore in open ground.

2. What time to plant

Without a transplant, such a flower can be grown in the same place for about ten years. When choosing a site for planting, it should be borne in mind that hellebore reacts exceptionally negatively to transplantation. In this regard, choosing a suitable location should be taken very seriously. To grow this flower, it is best to pick loose, moist, neutral clay soil that must be well-drained. The site should be shady, and it is good if it will be located between bushes and trees. To achieve the maximum decorative effect of such a flower, it is recommended to plant it in small groups. Hellebore should be planted in April or September.

3. How to plant

The size of the planting holes should be 30x30x30 centimetres, while a distance of approximately 0.3 meters should be maintained between the bushes. The ½ part hole should be covered with compost. After that, the hellebore rhizome is placed in a spot and gradually covered with soil, which is well compacted. Planted flowers must be watered. Planted shrubs should be watered abundantly and often within 20 days of planting.

18 Hellebore Plant Care & Growing Guide cultivation 2022

4. Hellebore beware

Caring for such a flower is quite simple. Before the hellebore blooms in spring, all old leaf plates should be cut. This is necessary so that the plant does not become infected with a fungal spot. Young leaves grow after the plant stops blooming. After the flowers wilt, it will be necessary to sprinkle the soil around the plants with a layer of mulch (compost or decomposed peat). If the weather is hot, then the hellebore should be systematically watered, weeds should be removed promptly, and the soil surface should be loosened. It also needs to be fed two times a season with mineral fertilizers and bone meal.

5. Hellebore reproduction

These flowers are often grown from seed but can also be propagated by vegetative methods. Sowing of seedlings is carried out in the last days of June, immediately after collecting the mature seeds. To do this, use hummus, moist and loose soil, and the roots should be buried about a centimetre and a half. The first shoots can be seen in March next year. After the appearance of 1 or 2 pairs of leaf plates, the grown seedlings should be dipped into the flowerbed (it should be located in the shade).

Hellebore will grow there for 2 to 3 years. Transplanting mature seedlings to a permanent place can be done in September or April, while the gardener will see the first flowering only three years later after the plant has fully recovered after transplanting. It should be noted that stinking hellebore multiplies well by self-seeding.

This plant is also propagated by dividing the bush. In spring, when flowering ends, shrubs that are five years old should be removed from the ground. The rhizome must be carefully divided into several parts, then the cuttings are sprinkled with crushed charcoal, and then the cuttings are planted in previously prepared holes. In the spring, the black hellebore is propagated in this way, and to divide the bushes of the eastern hellebore, and it is recommended to prefer the autumn time.

6. Diseases and pests.

Hellebore leaves can attract gastropods like snails and slugs, mice, aphids, and hop worm caterpillars that can damage it. To kill mice, bait with poison is used, which must be placed in those places where these rodents were seen. Slugs and snails are stolen from bushes with their hands, and insecticides kill insects. For example, you can get rid of caterpillars with Aktellik and aphids with Biotin or Antitlin.

Hellebore is most often affected by anthracnose, downy mildew, and ringspot. It should be remembered that aphids are carriers of spots. In this regard, it is necessary to combat such a pest promptly. The infected parts of the bush are cut down and destroyed, and then the plant and the soil around it are treated with a fungicide. If brownish-black spots with a barely visible ring pattern appear on the leaf plates, this means that the hellebore is affected by anthracnose.

18 Hellebore Plant Care & Growing Guide cultivation 2022

Infected leaves must be cut and burned while the bush is treated with a copper-containing product. If new leaf plates do not grow on the frontier, and those that have already grown are deformed, spots of a dark colour appear on the front surface, and a grey bloom appears on the dizzy feeling; this means that it is affected by downy mildew.

You should know that hellebore is distinguished by reasonably high resistance to diseases and harmful insects, and problems begin after violations of the rules of planting or care. For example, the plant was planted in too acidic soil. To determine the soil’s acidity, you can perform the following test. For this, you need to collect one small tablespoon of soil, pour it over the glass, which should be on the dark colour surface, and then the soil is slightly moistened with table vinegar. So you need to evaluate the result:

  • a large amount of foam indicates that the earth is alkaline;
  • medium foam means that the floor is neutral;
  • the absence of foam indicates that the planet is acidic.

To fix acidic soil, it is recommended to add wood ash, shaggy lime, or dolomite flour.

7. Hellebore after flowering

Seed collection

Seed maturation begins in June and can last all summer. It should be borne in mind that the box can suddenly burst in a moment, and the seeds will spill on the site. To avoid this, gauze bags should be placed in several pieces of still green boxes. Then you have to wait until the ripe seeds spill themselves into this bag. They will then need to be dried by placing them in a dry, well-ventilated room. They are then placed in a paper bag. But it is not recommended to store such seeds since they quickly lose their germination. In this regard, it is better to sow them immediately after collection.

8. Wintery

It was already mentioned above that this perennial has a very high frost resistance. But at the same time, it can still freeze slightly in a freezing and little snowy winter period, especially for young specimens. Therefore, it is better to cover the hellebore with fir branches with the famous dry fallen leaves for the winter.

Types and varieties of hellebore with photos and names

There are several popular types and varieties of hellebore.

18 Hellebore Plant Care & Growing Guide cultivation 2022
18 Hellebore Plant Care & Growing Guide cultivation 2022

9. Black frost (Helleborus niger)

This species is one of the most beautiful and widespread. Under natural conditions, this hellebore can be found in mountain forests from Yugoslavia to southern Germany. Such an evergreen perennial can reach a height of 0.3 m. The diameter of its large upward-facing flowers reaches 8 centimetres. The flowers are located on long peduncles, which varies from 0.3 to 0.6 m. Inside, the flowers are white as snow and outside are pale pink.

Flowering begins in the first days of April and lasts just under half a month. The leaf plates of this species are hibernating, and they are leathery, have a high density and have a spectacular dark green colour. It has a very high frost resistance (down to minus 35 degrees).In culture, this species has been around since the Middle Ages.

  1. Potters will do it. This variety has white flowers with the largest diameter (12 centimetres).
  2. HGC Joshua This hellebore is the earliest, its flowering begins in November.
  3. Praecox Flowers in November, the colour of the flowers is light pink.

10. Caucasian Hellebore (Helleborus caucasicus)

This species can be found both in the Caucasus and in Turkey and Greece. Hard, leathery evergreen plates with long petioles can reach 15 centimetres long, are divided into 5 to 11 broad segments. The height of the peduncles can vary from 0.2 to 0.5 meters. On them, there are drooping flowers, the colour of which can be green-yellow with a brownish tint or white with green, and their diameter reaches 8 centimetres. Flowering begins in the last days of April and lasts for six weeks. This species stands out for its resistance to winter and has been cultivated since 1853. It is considered the most poisonous of all.

11. Abkhaz Hellebore (Helleborus abchasicus)

The empty leathery leaf plates have long petioles, and their colour is green-purple or dark purple. The peduncles are purple-red and reach a height of 0.3 to 0.4 meters. The diameter of the dark red drooping flowers is about 8 centimetres; sometimes, you can see spots of a darker colour on them. Flowering in this frost-resistant species begins in April and lasts for six weeks. It has a variety of garden shapes.

12. Eastern hellebore (Helleborus orientalis)

Under natural conditions, it can be found in Greece, Turkey, and the Caucasus mountains. An evergreen perennial of this type can reach a height of 0.3 m. The diameter of lilac flowers is 5 centimetres. The leaf plates of this species are often affected by a fungus. There are many varieties, of which the following are the most popular:

  1. White swan The flowers are white.
  2. Rock and roll On the surface of the flowers of this species, there are pinkish-red specks.
  3. Blue anemone, The colour of the flowers is pale lilac.
  4. Variety series Leidy series Erect bushes multiply, flower stalks reach a height of 0.4 meters. The flowers come in 6 different colours.

13. Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus fetidus)

This species is native to the rocky slopes and light forests of Western Europe. Leafy shoots in the autumn period have a height of 0.2 to 0.3 m. The winter leaf plates are divided into narrow, glossy dark green segments. The size of the peduncles is about 0.8 meters. On them, dense inflorescences grow, including many small bell-shaped flowers with a green colour and a brownish-red border. This species has a very high drought resistance. The most popular variety is Vester Flix: the leaf segments are even narrower than the main species, the branches of the inflorescences have a pale red tint.

14. Corsican Hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius)

In natural conditions, it can be found on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. An evergreen perennial of this type can reach a height of about 0.75 m. Several erect shoots increase in width. The flowers are cupped and greenish-yellow in colour and are part of large and complex racemose inflorescences. Under natural conditions, this plant begins to bloom in February and in temperate climates around April. In middle latitudes, a shelter is necessary for the winter period. The most popular variety is Grunspecht: the colour of the flowers is greenish-red.

15. Reddish Hellebore (Helleborus purpurascens)

The homeland is southeastern Europe, and it prefers to grow on the edges of forests and bushes on the territory from Romania and Hungary to the western regions of Ukraine. The sizeable basal leaf plates have long petioles, and they are dissected with the fingers into 5 to 7 parts. The front surface is bare, bright green, and the back is glaucous. The drooping flowers are about 4 centimetres in diameter and unpleasant. They have painted a dusty violet colour on the outside, and on the inside – light green, they turn green after a while. Flowering begins in April and lasts for about four weeks. Cultivated since 1850

18 Hellebore Plant Care & Growing Guide cultivation 2022
18 Hellebore Plant Care & Growing Guide cultivation 2022

Winter flowering plants

  • Cyclamen
  • Camellia
  • Crocus
  • Primrose
  • Snowdrop
  • Winterberry
  • Winter heath

Flowering plants for shade

  • False goat’s beard
  • Lily of the valley
  • Plantain lilies
  • Coral bells
  • Hydrangea
  • Pulmonaria
  • Foxgloves

16. Hybrid Hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus)

This species combines varieties of garden hybrids between different types of hellebore. The flowers can be painted in different colours and have a diameter of 5-8 centimetres. For example:

  1. Purple, The central part of the white flowers, is fluffy. There are also delicate pink veins and a border.
  2. Belinda Plush has white flowers with a pinkish green sheen and a border along the edge of the petals.
  3. Knight’s queen Dark purple flowers have yellow stamens.

Besides these species, they are also cultivated as green, fragrant, shrubby, multipart, Tibetan, Sterna, etc.

17. Hellebore properties

In alternative medicine, the medicinal properties of black hellebore are often used and those of the Caucasus. These plants can normalize metabolic processes in the body, lower blood pressure, and lower sugar in the blood. They also have a diuretic, laxative and antibacterial effect. They help cleanse the gastrointestinal tract’s organs of polyps and parasites, and the stones are eliminated from the urine and the gallbladder.

It is used to treat migraines, stomach ulcers, osteochondrosis, rheumatism, arthritis, and sciatica. Contributes to the maintenance of the cardiovascular system. They cleanse the blood, strengthen the body’s immune system. They are used to prevent oncology and colds, and such plants can also kill tumour formations at an early stage.

18 Hellebore Plant Care & Growing Guide cultivation 2022

Medicines are prepared only from the root of this plant, although you should not forget that it contains poison. The roots are harvested in September after the seeds are fully ripe. They should be rinsed with a stiff bristle brush. Then they are cut into pieces and dried at a temperature of 40 to 45 degrees in special dryers. These raw materials can retain their properties for two years. From this root, you can make an infusion or a decoction, as well as a powder that has potent healing properties.

Hellebore is also widely used by those who want to lose weight. Weight loss is because the plant gently removes toxins from the body, removes excess fluid, promotes the rapid breakdown of fats, and accelerates fat metabolism. At the same time, the kilograms will disappear without a strict diet and hunger strikes. During four weeks of using hellebore for weight loss, the average person sheds 4-5 kilograms of excess weight.

18. Such a plant has a large number of contraindications, and it is forbidden to use it:

  • with liver diseases;
  • children under 14 years of age;
  • people with problems of the cardiovascular system (tachycardia, heart attack, etc.);
  • during pregnancy and lactation.

In case of an overdose, a person may feel ringing in the ears, thirst, swelling of the tongue and throat. If the poisoning is severe, this often leads to collapse or cardiac arrest. Among all plants, hellebore is distinguished because it has the highest amount of poisons for the heart. In some cases, people die after using a product made from this plant. In this regard, before you start taking such a drug, be sure to consult with a qualified specialist who can choose the required dosage and regimen.

Where is the best place to plant hellebores?

Where to plant hellebores. Grow hellebores at the front of a border in sun, or full or partial shade, depending on the variety you choose. They do best in fertile, well-drained soil, but can also be raised in pots in a loam-based compost.

Why is hellebore poisonous?

Hellebores contain three active ingredients: glycosides, which can cause bradycardia (slowing of the heart); saponin, acting on the nervous system causing narcosis; and helleborine, a purgative found in the roots of the plant.

Do hellebores need sun or shade?

Hellebores are at their best in evenly moist well-drained soil in partial shade. Water well during extended dry periods; they are drought-tolerant once established.

Are hellebores poisonous to humans?

The leaves, stems, and roots of these plants are all poisonous. Although seldom fatal, your pet (or even your child) can become very ill if any part of the plant is ingested.

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