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Hearty Hellebores

Updated on March 25, 2016

The Hearty Hellebore

I first stumbled upon this beautiful flower while touring the garden of my good friend who is a Washington State Master Gardener. It was a cold day in early spring when most Northwest gardens are still looking rather brown and dreary. I saw this lovely row of Hellebore flowers looking unaffected by the cold weather and inquired as to what it was? She started rattling off the particular details of this fantastic flower and I began to wonder how it was that this amazing plant had completely escaped my attention for so long. I immediately drove to the nearest nursery and purchased some for my backyard. It was so difficult to choose just a few. I wanted to bring home one of each fantastic color, but as always I have a limited budget which forces me to make those hard choices. I have fallen in love with these amazing plants and plan to add more to our backyard landscape in the future.

A Lovely Addition To Your Garden

This low maintenance beauty will be a fantastic addition to any Pacific Northwest garden. They come in a large variety of shapes, colors and sizes. This unique flower looks more like something from a tropical flower garden than a Northwest garden. They can create an impressive display when muliple hellebores are planted together in a flower bed

Hellebore As A Low Maintenance Groundcover

Shade Tolerant

It can be a challenge to find the right plant to put in the shady areas of your garden. Although the Hellebore isn't necessarily a shade plant it does thrive in the shady low sunlight areas as well as the sunnier areas of your garden. If you choose a Hellebore with a light colored flower it can brighten up a dark area in your garden. Especially if you choose a hellabore plant with a white flower.


It isn't always easy to find plants that have beautiful evergreen foliage all year round. But once again the hellebore is just the plant you are looking for. The Hellebore leaf has a variety of unique shapes and lovely dark shiny green leaves year round.

A Deer Proof Dream!

As majestic as they may be, nobody spends time and money on their garden just to see it end up a snack for a hungry deer. The Hellebore plant is deer-proof. so while your rose bushes may be chewed down to the nubs the Hellebore will still be left standing.

Low Maintenance Beauty

This fantastic plant is nearly a set it and forget it plant. I bought three different varieties last spring for my own garden and they continued to bloom prolifically until fall. The shiny green leaves lasted throughout the year and the flowers came back again this spring.

Frost Resistant

This plant is wonderfully frost resistant. The hellebore is often referred to as a Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose because it blooms near Christmas and Lent when little else blooms in frost laden gardens.

The Christmas Flower
The Christmas Flower

Beautiful Flowers

There is a great variety of shapes and sizes of Hellebore flowers and foliage. The plants form seedlings tend to cross pollinate so their offspring are often not exactly like their parent plant. If you want more plants that are exactly like the parent you can get these by dividing the plant itself. The flower petals can be solid in color or have colored spots. The petal shape can be flat or cup-like and the tips of the petals can be pointed or rounded. Color varies from bright green to white to various shades of light pink to dark burgundy or purple.

The Cherry Blossom Hellebore

Planting And Care Of The Hellebore

The Hellebore flowers generally bloom in January and February which is also a fine time to plant them. They thrive best in well drained soil and don't like their roots sitting in the mud. They grow well in soil rich in organic matter with a neutral pH. The plants grow well up to zone 4. Hellebore's make great companions for a huge variety of plants due to their great durability.

Peppermint Ice

Enemies of the Hellebore

The black spot fungal disease can be a real problem for the Hellebore plant. If you see signs of black spot on your plants immediately remove the leaves and discard in the garbage not your yard waste. This will help prevent the black spot from being reintroduced to your other plants through contaminated soil. Aphids, slugs and snails can also be a problem. These can be removed by hand or a commercial organic aphid spray can be used. Sluggo is a great nontoxic deterrent for slugs. Thankfully even with damage from these things the Hellebore remains a hearty plant and most likely will quickly return to good health after the problem has been removed..

Apricot Blush
Apricot Blush

Hellebore Fast Facts

Plants typically grow from 1 to 3 feet tall

Black spot is the Hellebore's number one enemy

Foliage is evergreen

Frost resistant

Drought resistant

Deer resistant

Shade tolerant

Grows well up to zone 3-8

Hellebores As Cut Flowers

The Hellebore flower makes a fantastic addition to flower arrangements. If cared for properly they can be long lasting as cut flowers. To get the longest life out of your hellebore cut from the garden, either boil or sear the tips of the stems. Then place them in cold water.

How to care for your Hellebore

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About The Author

My name is Karen Shiley. I live in the beautiful evergreen Washington state. I have an adventurous spirit and love to share what I learn with everyone. I like science, gardening, cooking, reading, daytrips and above all else my amazing family who supply me with endless amusment and happiness.

This article was originally written and published by me on 4/12/13


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    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      Thank you for his hub and the interest in hellebores. They are so beautiful and one of the plants I admire. Up, useful, interesting and beautiful.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the suggestions! We are planting today in this lovely 42 degree day in the Pacific Northwest. :)