Name: Helleborus orientalis aka Lenten rose hellebore.
Type of Plant: This is a perennial that is evergreen and grows best in part shade to full shade. They often form seeds and spread, and can naturalize where they are happy.
Why I love this: These perennials flower for a very long time in the garden. There are several species of Helleborus but there are two main types that are typically found in gardens, H. orientalis and H. niger. The Christmas rose (H. niger) begin flowering in November or December, and the Lenten rose hellebores flower from late-January into April depending on your location and the weather.
A Word to the Wise: Since the flowers of the Lenten rose plants hang down, if you have a shady slope or terrace that is a great place to plant these hellebores, especially if it’s a spot that you frequently pass in late-winter and early spring.
Plants in the genus Helleborus grow best in organically rich soils that don’t dry out. They also do well in a neutral to slightly alkaline pH, so don’t plant them around plants that like acid soil such as Rhododendrons.
Sometimes the leaves of a hellebore can look a bit winter-worn, so don’t hesitate to prune damaged foliage off at any point. But if you want these plants to spread, don’t cut off the old stems – let the seedpods remain on the plant.
Note: hellebores have tremendous variation when they grow from seed so be prepared to be surprised about flower color and other characteristics. I’m looking forward to seeing what the offspring from my plants look like! Note: The garden shot here is of Helleborus that I got from LentenRose.com. Nice folks – check them out.