The Joy of Hellebores in the Garden

Hellebores are a great addition to any garden, from the range of flower colours and types to the shape and colour of their leaves.

These beauties are evergreen, shade loving perennials that bloom from November to April depending on the variety, a welcome sight at a time of year when other plants are going into dormancy.  As well as this they also add contrast to a border; a lot of times when we think of contrast we instinctively think of flower colour, but leaf shape, colour and texture can draw the eye and add interest to what would otherwise be a sea of green.  Hellebores tick all the boxes in this regard, not only in the winter months but throughout every season.

Hellebores are clump forming upright plants that range in height from 25cm to 60cm, depending on the variety.  They like humus rich well drained soil, but are not happy in excessively dry or wet conditions; mulching annually in winter will really make them up.  Fabulous planted under a mature specimen tree, if you’re lucky to have one or a few in your garden, but otherwise they will be happy in any shady area. 

The leaves are very distinctive, palmate in shape, reminiscent of a hand, with seven, five or three lobes on the one stem, depending on the variety.  Leaf colour then can be green, marbled, marbled with pink/purple hint to the stem, and blue/green silver, again depending on the variety.

Helleborus ‘Pennys Pink’
Helleborus ‘Pennys Pink’
Helleborus orientalis
Helleborus orientalis
Helleborus ‘Purple Marble’

Beautiful flowers come in a range of colours from white and green, and an assortment of shades of pinks, purples, reds and yellow, some with single and double flower heads and others with the most beautiful markings on the petals, again depending on the variety.

Helleborus orientalis ‘Hello Red’ 

Very little maintenance is necessary on these wonderful plants, simply cut back old leaves when the new growth appears and remove flower stems as they fade to encourage leaf growth.  Plants are deep rooted once established.