How to Plant and Care for Hellebores (Lenten Roses)
Stunning Variety of Colors
Looking for Winter Blooms? Lenten Roses Are Perfect!
If you have been scurrying around searching for winter-blooming perennial plants, why don't you buy yourself some Lenten Roses? Smack dab in the middle of winter, these great flowers will begin to open and the cool weather can help keep these blooms around for a couple of months.
Here's what to look for in a winter-blooming perennial Lenten Rose plant.
My first suggestion is for you to buy an already-established plant because these plants seem to take forever to get started, and there's just no need to put yourself through that frustration if you don't have to. Even if you do buy one that's large and already established, you will still have to give it a couple of years before it begins to flower. Patience, grasshopper.
They are great under trees like the Japanese Maple, which has low-spreading branches offering great shade for the roses. Make sure, however, that you plant them on the east side of your home (when possible) because the morning sun and the afternoon shade are the perfect environment for the Lenten Roses.
Also, make sure that you plant them in well-drained soil. Keep them away from soil that is wet continually, and also away from clay soil. Your Lenten Rose plant will reward you well if, in the spring, you place a few inches of compost (or mulch if you don't have any compost) at the base of the plant. The roots need to remain cool and moist and the compost should do the trick nicely.
You can expect them to bloom in colors ranging from light pink to a deep wine color, and some may even be speckled. The only way you'll be able to choose the colors of the bloom would be to purchase the plants from a nursery while they are blooming.
Fortunately, these flowers have no serious pest problems (like most of their fellow hellebores) and they are deer resistant as well.
Beautiful Colors of Lenten Roses
If you want to increase the number of your plants, divide them in the late summer or very early fall. You will probably see blooms in the spring because the flower buds have already formed for the next year. When seedlings start popping up (and they will) remove them immediately or they will become invasive in a hurry.
Tips for Successful Lenten Roses
- Your soil pH should be about 7.
- The Lenten Rose plants are cold hardy in USDA zones 4-8.
- You can expect your plant to grow about 18" tall and 18" wide.
- If the evergreen leaves begin to look like they are dying, simply cut them off before the flower stalks begin to stretch.
Hybrids, Hybrids, Hybrids
There are so many hybrid varieties of hellebores that they are almost impossible to keep up with. Some of the older varieties with softer tones have been replaced by darker, richer, deeper tones of blues, blacks, and burgundy. In addition, many of the species interbreed and people are dazzled by the resulting blooms of flowers that are cross-fertile between sections.
More Great Articles on Caring for These Roses
- Heavenly Hellebores
Lenten rose plants offer early-blooming flowers with long-lasting sepals and striking dark, shiny green leaves. Learn how to grow this hellebore here.
- The Secret to Growing Beautiful Lenten Roses
Apparently one of the secrets is the use of lime!
- Hellebores: How to Grow & Care for Hellebore Flowers
Anything we might have overlooked on the care of these flowers is probably covered on this great website.
© 2011 Mike and Dorothy McKenney