Winter Hardy Hellebores
You may be wondering why I’m writing a post smack dab in the middle of winter about plants! Well, the answer is simple. As I look outside my window on this cold, frigid Northern Virginia day, everything is drab and lifeless. Gone are all the colorful flowers and lush greenery. The grass is deader than Jimmy Hoffa and the ground harder than cement shoes!
And that’s why I’m thinking about Hellebores plants. Not because of Jimmy, but because I’m looking forward to February or March, when my bushy Hellebores plants will be the first ones coming to life with their delicate flowers. It’s a reminder that spring isn’t too far away. I’ve even seen Hellebores flower buds poke through a late February snow.
These plants have an abundance of delicate flowers comprised of petal-like sepals surrounded by cup-like petals. There are approx. 20 species, flowering in a wide array of shapes and colors … white, yellow, pink, deep purple. Winter Rose, Christmas Rose and Lenten Rose are very popular Hellebores. But don’t let the names fool you – they are actually not related to the Rose family!
Hellebores are my favorite evergreen perennials. Once established they have dense green foliage and become laden with flowers. This frost-resistant, “no” fuss plant requires little maintenance. Just cut them back in spring to keep the plants from getting scraggly and to promote new, fresh leaves. Another plus: deer and other wildlife don’t like ‘em – therefore, “I” do!
Hellebores do best in sheltered part shade with good drainage. They thrive against the sides of my brick home where they have the perfect mix of sun and shade. Their glorious bushy mounds produce several months of delicate flowers that make wonderful cuttings for small vases.
Once they find their perfect spot, they will slowly keep expanding every year. Some of mine have become two feet wide, almost a foot tall. Hellebores will be fine in dense shade, but you’ll lose the flowers. Giving them partial sunlight will ensure blooms. They are a good fit for zones 6 to 9, but check your area to see if this terrific, easy plant is right for your garden or backyard.