Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Student Post, Helleborus

Helleborus

Lenten Roses

Happy Helleborus, as I like to call them, are a fantastic genus group of beautifully flowering, evergreen perennials. Helleborus are very adaptable and will grow in many different situations making them a garden must have. Helleborus originally came to North America from both Europe and Asia, and they can now be found throughout the U.S. in almost any nursery. They bloom before or around Easter and can sometimes last for a month or more. They can be planted in zones 4-8, and they are deer proof!

The greatest feature of Lenten Roses is the wide range of flower color choices available. One thing to remember when purchasing is that they do not bloom sometimes in their first year, but will start blooming the second year so you may want to spend the extra money to get a larger, older plant.

They also come in double flowering varieties.

Almost an equally interesting feature of Lenten Roses is their foliage. They do not disappoint even when they are not flowering. They remain a vibrant groundcover throughout the rest of the year. Several different cultivars offer unique foliage combinations.

Helleborus are perfect for a shade garden, but I have also planted them in full sun and had them perform well. They will do best with afternoon shade. At times older leaves will need to be removed in the winter to keep them looking fresh. Another trick I learned from a long time gardener client was to add lime to the soil when you plant them. This will help them grow fast and strong. Give them small amounts of organic fertilizer, adequate water (but not to much they don’t like wet feet) and make sure to take lots of photos when they bloom and you will never have another garden without Helleborus!!

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