Hellebore, Lenten Rose, Christmas Rose, Black Hellebore

Helleborus niger

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Helleborus (hel-eh-BORE-us) (Info)
Species: niger (NY-ger) (Info)
Synonym:Helleborus niger subsp. niger
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Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Winter




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Wilton, California

Clifton, Colorado

New Haven, Connecticut

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Gaithersburg, Maryland

Wayland, Massachusetts

Bayville, New Jersey

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Chesterland, Ohio

Monmouth, Oregon

Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania

Morrisville, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Anacortes, Washington

Stanwood, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 16, 2005, laurawege from Wayland, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I love my helleborus! I have the traditional Christmas rose ( niger ) and a few un-named varieties the christmas rose is my favorite , the foliage is more compact and stays neater ,my others get very tattered looking. When I first got it it was not happy where I planted it so I moved it . I must have missed a little piece of root because the next thing I knew there was a little one coming up where I had removed it from. This leads me to beleive thatt hey could be easily divided


On Oct 26, 2004, ebonschwan from Black Mountain, NC wrote:

Growing some 50 plants with some 8 genus in a rocky(scree) area blossoms from jan or feb most years with 20 to 30 blossoms division is very easy and the plants have little or no pests or diseases plus do not need regular fertilizer


On Aug 30, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

The Christmas Rose is one of the easier garden plants to grow. Its ability to bloom in the coolest months of the year when everything else is frozen solid make them a valuable asset to any garden. This plant produces flowers from late fall up until early spring. It is an evergreen and grows 12 to 15 inches tall. It has shiny, dark green leathery leaves. Each flower stalk bears a single 2 to 4 inch white bloom (sometimes tinged with pink).