How to Plant and Care for Lenten Roses
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.
- 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.
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.
Tips for Successful Lenten Roses
- pH should be about 7
- The Lenten Rose plants are cold hardy in USDA zones 4-8
- 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.
© 2011 Mike and Dorothy McKenney