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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Hellebores, Christmas or Lenten Rose, Perennials for Shady Places

life between the flowers Christmas and Lentern Rose
life between the flowers Hellebore niger
Commonly known as The Christmas or Lentern Rose because of its flowering time from the Christmas period into Lent, Hellebores are not actually related to the rose family but to the genus Helleborus.  This genus consists of over 20 species of  perennial mostly evergreen herbaceous flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae.
Life between the flowers Christmas and Lentern Roses Hellebore Niger
Many species of Hellebore have their origins in South Eastern Europe on the uplands and lowlands of The Balkans. Other original species can be traced in Turkey through Syria and into China. However most of the popular varieties you see in gardens around Britain are the creations of nurserymen and are Helleborus orientalis hybrids.
Life between the flowers Growing and caring for hellebores
Hellebores are a perfect plant for dappled partial shade. Full shade may inhibit flower numbers so planting in and around deciduous trees or shrubs is ideal. They will tolerate most soil types but their ideal will be humus rich, loamy and well drained. They should not be planted in areas that become waterlogged especially through the Winter as they are likely to rot off.  If the area becomes hot, baked and dry during the Summer this equally should be avoided.
Life between the flowers Planting Hellebores.
To plant your Hellebore dig a hole twice the size of the pot or bare root. Add in plenty of compost and a handful of fish blood and bone meal and water well in. During the plants first year or at least until its root system has become established keep it well watered, especially during the Summer months. In Spring be sure to lightly fork in a top dressing of fish blood and bone or a compound fertilizer. Growmore is a popular one here in Britain.  It is a good idea to mulch round the plant in the Autumn. You could use mushroom compost, leaf mould or chippings of bark for this purpose.
Life between the flowers Hellebores flower in early Spring.
Here in Britain, Hellebores tend to flower from mid February through to April. Although they are semi evergreen throughout the year leaves gradually die back to allow for newer fresher ones. Its a good idea to cut these dead ones away from the plant for its overall tidiness and to prevent disease. This is particularly important in late Winter prior to the flower stems emerging to make sure they are not hindered or covered. Once flowering stems have finished they should be cut down to their base.
Life between the flowers-Hellebore clumps can be split after a few years
 Most Hellebore tend to form large clumps after several years growth. At this stage they can be divided. Lift the whole plant and slice into sections with a spade or put two forks back to back and gradually prize apart whichever you find easiest. These bare root sections can then be replanted elsewhere. This process is best done either straight after flowering in Spring or in early Autumn. Make sure your new plants are kept moist through the first year or until new roots have established.
life between the flowers-Hellebores produce seedlings which can be grown into new plants
In addition to splitting large clumps, Hellebores tend to self propagate with little seedlings growing around the parent plant. These can be left where they are to mature but as they may be quite dense it's best to thin them and pot the seedlings on to grow into new plants.
life between the flowers-flowering Hellebores brighten up the Winter months
General discussion and your views are welcome please say hello. Because of my busy schedule I regret I am unable to answer many questions. Thanks for visiting my blog today.

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