Most gardeners start pacing in winter in anticipation of the riot of spring blossoms to come. There is a secret to enjoying some bursts of color before the spring thaw: Helleborus.

A Sure Cure for the Winter Blues


Some Helleborus, called Christmas Rose, feature beautiful blooms that start peeking through the drab grays of November. Other Helleborus, known as Lenten Rose, start blooming in February. The Lenten Rose features a wide color palette, and their blooms last until spring. There are many Helleborus varieties to choose from. All Helleborus varieties are evergreen, which provide elements of color to your winter gardens.

Helleborus are low-maintenance, self-sowing perennials. They are hardy in a wide variety of conditions but do best when planted in partial to full shade. Helleborus prefer moist, rich soil that is well-drained, but you’ll find they’re tolerant of many growing conditions including shallow, rocky, or dry soil. They’re also resistant to environmental threats such as air pollution and hungry deer.

Getting Started with Helleborus Flowers

Spring and early fall are the best times to plant Helleborus. Once planted, be sure to water them three times a week until they’re established. Helleborus are hardy flowers and will require minimal watering after that. Expect your Helleborus to grow to around 1 or 2 feet tall and wide.

You can trim the prior year’s foliage off to ground level in late winter or early spring. While it’s not necessary for the health of the plant, trimming off the dead foliage allows emerging blooms to be easily viewed and keeps your garden looking clean and lush.

Helleborus don’t like being moved, so it’s advised to let them grow happily in place. You can thin out newer seedlings if necessary, and, if needed, divide individual plants in the fall.

Helleborus add year-round beauty to any garden. Whether growing them in raised flower beds, early spring container gardens, or just letting them spread and grow naturally, these winter beauties are sure to brighten the dark days of winter and whet your appetite for the spring thaw.