Plant of the week: Helleborus orientalis
Here is one of my favorite evergreen plants! These interesting flowers bloom very early spring, sometimes even when there is snow on the ground! The flowers are very beautiful, but they are not entirely visible due to the way they grow. They hang downward, as shown here in the first picture, but the flowers are very long lasting. The evergreen foliage is a thick lustrous green and looks great in floral arrangements. Be sure to plant this if you like to cut flowers for arrangements in your home. The greenery adds so much to accent the color of the flowers.
Hellebore’s grow 12- 18”, and do best in a shaded location with moist, well-drained soil. They are becoming very popular, and there are hundreds of varieties in an array of colors. Even though they bloom so early, they provide year round interest, due to the evergreen foliage. Many of the new cultivars have variegated foliage, as well as double varieties and many with speckled petals. Here is an assortment of flower and foliage pictures to give you an idea of the multitude of cultivars available.
One notable cultivar that is readily available here in Southeast Michigan is the ‘Royal Heritage’ mix. This is the most commonly seen cultivar, although are many more that are much more interesting. Some other cultivars are available from our suppliers and from local nurseries, although the most sought after varieties can be found online. So many people are breeding Hellebores now that there are lots of new and exciting crosses out there. If you are interested in this little plant, do a google search and look at all the images available. They are a pricey little plant, but so worth it, especially if you collect them.
I have several varieties in my garden. A couple of favorite cultivars I have are ‘Blue Lady’ and ‘Ivory Prince’. ‘Blue Lady’ is a very dark purple, almost black cultivar and is usually fairly easy to find. ‘Ivory Prince’ is a Hellebore with very different foliage that is almost a silvery green.
Hellebores also seed very easily so you can transplant the seedlings, or give some to a friend! Asexual propagation is prohibited for named cultivars that are patented. This means that you can transplant seedlings, but division, cuttings and tissue culture to create more of the same plants is illegal.
If you are interested in help planning your garden or landscape, I would love to help create your Hellebore collection with you! They are hands down one of my favorite plants!