As its name implies the Christmas Rose blooms at this time of year. The hellebore as it is generally known is a low growing plant and the flowers droop down to protect themselves from the weather. These shade loving plants grow best in a rich, moist soil and are ideal for a woodland setting. Martha Young, an Adams County Master Gardener, can fill you in on the details.
Hellebores for Christmas
My title is rather misleading. You will have a hard time finding a hellebore plant right now. But this is just to entice you to begin thinking of where you can plant these versatile plants once spring arrives. As part of my goal to have some plant blooming in my yard year-round, I am adding Hellebore. Also known as Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose, these names give a hint as to when they bloom. Right now, my Helleborus foetidus is producing new leaves and buds that will produce drooping clusters of small, pale green, bell-shaped flowers which contrast with its evergreen foliage. The flowers will last for a long time–into spring. Another name for this hellebore is ‘stinking hellebore.’ This name is misleading since the scent is unusual but not objectionable.
There are many versions of hellebores. A lot of hybridizing is taking place which produces flowers in many colors–white, green, pink and deeper colors such as maroon or spotted flowers. Since most varieties that you buy will re-seed readily and they are already hybrids, you don’t know what color flowers you may get as plants reproduce themselves.
The best way to enjoy these flower blooms is to cut them with about an inch of stem and float them in a shallow bowl of water. They can last for weeks as they slowly fade into completely different colors.