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  • Writer's pictureSweet Pea Specialists

Hellebores - Winter Roses

Updated: May 4, 2022

Nothing beats Hellebores for winter flowers.

Hellebores are woodland plants which means they prefer to grow in partial shade in rich, moist, but well-draining soil. If given these conditions Hellebores are easy to grow perennials. The only maintenance they require is the removal of old foliage in autumn. This tidies up the plant and allows the flowers to be more easily seen.

Hellebores are excellent cut flowers and dried flowers. However, it needs to be noted that freshly opened flowers are normally only able to be used for a day without wilting. A few tips are placing the flowers in deep water, scoring the stems lightly so they take up more water, and keeping them cool but do not place the flowers in the refrigerator. For longer vase life, pick older flowers that have started to develop seed pods.

Our seeds have been collected from a large mixture of Helleborus x hybridus varieties that feature a large range of colours and shaped flowers. Helleborus x hybridus is derived mainly from the H. orientalis species. There are around 20 different species and we do have some of these in our collection.

Left - Helleborus x sternii Aberconwy Strain

Right - Helleborus argutifolius 'Pacific Frost'

Our seeds will give you the opportunity to grow something unique.   Growing hellebores from seed is easy. First your seeds must be fresh. Our seeds are harvested and stored in the refrigerator until they posted. Hellebore seeds need a cold spell for them to germinate. For this reason I prefer to sow my seeds in autumn even if the seeds have been in the fridge. However, seeds can be sown in spring if the seeds have been placed in the fridge for at least 6 weeks prior to sowing.   To sow seeds, select pots that are around 10cm in diameter and have a depth of approximately 10cm, no less. Clean your pots. Potting mixture needs to fine. I use a 50/50 ratio of Kelpomix Premium Potting Mix and compost. You are wanting to replicate the soil of a woodland environment where the seeds naturally self-seed. Fill your pot with your potting mixture. Place one seed per pot to a depth of 2cm and gently water.   I next place a fine later of sugar cane mulch. You need to keep your pots damp but not wet. Seeds can take up to 12 months to germinate, so be patient. I would leave pots for 2 years before discarding any.   Leave the seedlings to grow in their pots until they have formed a couple sets of leaves. At this point they can be either planted out into the garden or left to grow further. At this point the seedlings will require a feed of liquid fertiliser.   Note that hellebore seedlings do not like having their roots disturbed, so be gentle and plant out with as much soil undisturbed as possible.   Your seedlings will start flowering at around 3 years.   For more information on growing and breeding hellebores, we recommend the book "Hellebores" by Graham Rice.

Below photos are of hellebores that have resulted from our seeds. These are being grown on for future release.

Link to Seeds

Helleborus x hybridus

Helleborus argutifolius 'Pacific Frost'

Common names - Winter Rose, Snow Rose, Lenten Rose, Christmas Rose (Northern Hemisphere) and Oracle Rose.

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