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Hellebore, Lenten Rose
Helleborus orientalis

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Helleborus (hel-eh-BORE-us) (Info)
Species: orientalis (or-ee-en-TAY-liss) (Info)
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Perennials

Height:

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

Spacing:

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

Hardiness:

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)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade

Danger:

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Pink

Purple

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring

Foliage:

Evergreen

Deciduous

Smooth-Textured

Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

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

Regional

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

, (2 reports)

Auburn, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama (2 reports)

Wetumpka, Alabama

Anchorage, Alaska

Little Rock, Arkansas

Berkeley, California

Capistrano Beach, California

Citrus Heights, California

Clayton, California

El Cerrito, California

Fairfield, California

Merced, California

Oak View, California

Oakland, California

Sacramento, California

Salida, California

San Francisco, California

Santa Ana, California

Stockton, California

Vallejo, California

Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Wethersfield, Connecticut

Pensacola, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Barnesville, Georgia

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Homewood, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Palatine, Illinois

Chesterton, Indiana

Hobart, Indiana

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Warren, Indiana

Ewing, Kentucky

Hebron, Kentucky

Prospect, Kentucky

Elkton, Maryland

Hagerstown, Maryland

Takoma Park, Maryland

Foxboro, Massachusetts

Halifax, Massachusetts

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

Marlborough, Massachusetts

Wayland, Massachusetts

Blissfield, Michigan

Owosso, Michigan

Paris, Michigan

Pinconning, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Booneville, Mississippi

Starkville, Mississippi

Archie, Missouri

Brunswick, Missouri

Piedmont, Missouri

Exeter, New Hampshire

Vineland, New Jersey

Aquebogue, New York

Buffalo, New York

New York City, New York

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)

Tobaccoville, North Carolina

Vass, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio (2 reports)

Dundee, Ohio

Hilliard, Ohio

Newark, Ohio

Orient, Ohio

Dallas, Oregon

Port Orford, Oregon

Portland, Oregon (3 reports)

Rogue River, Oregon

Clairton, Pennsylvania

Devon, Pennsylvania

Malvern, Pennsylvania

Montoursville, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Wallingford, Pennsylvania

Hope Valley, Rhode Island

Clemson, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Culleoka, Tennessee

Hendersonville, Tennessee

Hixson, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

New Johnsonville, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Dallas, Texas (2 reports)

Houston, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

Tyler, Texas

West Dummerston, Vermont

Arlington, Virginia

Blacksburg, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Disputanta, Virginia

Hallieford, Virginia

Hurt, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Locust Dale, Virginia

Madison Heights, Virginia

Midlothian, Virginia

Newport News, Virginia

Springfield, Virginia

Woodbridge, Virginia

Wytheville, Virginia

Anacortes, Washington

Auburn, Washington

Chimacum, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Puyallup, Washington

Seattle, Washington (5 reports)

Vancouver, Washington

Charleston, West Virginia

La Crosse, Wisconsin (2 reports)

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

32
positives
4
neutrals
1
negative
RatingContent
Positive

On Sep 23, 2012, rosielynne from Auburn, WA wrote:

I planted mine I think it is called 'white prince' or something close to it, under a large blue spruce in the shade-it really spreads and though I thought it would die back it never has, the leaves get deep green and burgundy the leather look blends well with large sharp rocks around it and it spreads, since I commonly neglect my watering in this section I think it may do best without pampering as I do nothing-it lost it's flowers sometime in June but I bought it for the winter as mine blooms with an off white all winter long the only plant I have, along with my pink cyclamen, that blooms all winter without fail and both peek up over the top of snow. Did esp. well with a very deep freeze that broke even the hardiest trees this year. In the summer it loos amazinng next to my gold huechera.

Positive

On May 13, 2012, MonicaG from Wallingford, PA wrote:

Planted 10 Lenten Rose in a group 2 years ago. Over the winter, the leaves stay green but became rather leathery looking and start to brown as spring arrives. The first year, I didn't realize that I needed to trim back the old growth when the new growth appeared. This past spring I did just that. Wow! They grew in so full and lush with lots of blooms. I have had blooms now for 2 months and they are still going strong.

Positive

On Jun 1, 2011, ffahelper from Brunswick, MO wrote:

I had looked forward to growing the Lenten rose for quite awhile. Several years ago I ordered three plants; one died; one flourished; one is still struggling. This spring was the first time the better of the two living plants bloomed, and I am so pleased. I was even more pleased to discovered the seed pods inside the spent blooms. It's such an attractive plant. I suggest that it should be planted where you can walk by it so as to enjoy it more often.

Negative

On Feb 15, 2010, treehug from San Jose, CA wrote:

I've seen these growing at Sunset Magazine in Menlo Park, CA and at Filoli Gardens in San Mateo and they are lovely, but mine don't do well at all, 20 miles south of there. I have one in the shade in the ground that gets a couple of small blooms. I put another in a pot on my shaded front porch. It got covered with aphids over Christmas. I'm reading here to prune off the leaves after blooming so I will try that next time and the aphids will have no where to go.

Positive

On Feb 12, 2010, chinasue from Hallieford, VA wrote:

We've had tons of snow and ice this winter; noticed the hellebores have browned, leathery-dead looking leaves. Can I just whack them off? When? Great in bloom; have them in deep shade.

Positive

On Feb 9, 2010, isabel8 from Charlottesville, VA wrote:

For years I have grown Lenten Roses with great success and have them on my top 5 plant list. Sadly last year a large number of them were covered with aphids (I think as they are small, white and plentiful). As I cut back the old leaves this week I noticed they are back. Does anyone know how to get rid of them? Thank you.

Positive

On Feb 9, 2010, palebo7 from Dallas, TX wrote:

Our firm, David Rolston Landscape Architects in Dallas (www.dallasgardens.com), has been using Hellebore's for years. They are a great addition to a moderately shady garden, in front of evergreen plants like Autumn Fern and Plum Yews; and we've even found them to be slightly drought tolerant. The best part of the Hellebore is it blooms starting in early January and goes thru April.
Oh, and they re-seed prolifically, so you'll always get more in time.
They also take well to transplanting - I've even dug up during their blooming season.
I just wish we could get our hands on more colors in the local wholesalers.

Positive

On Feb 8, 2010, genesis215 from Columbus, OH wrote:

I'm addicted. It didn't take long! I saw one plant at Lowe's 2 years ago (I know, I got caught up in the moment) but it was sooo pretty; I didn't know they would grow here. I ordered another one Santa Rosa Gardens that was red. I was hoping to end up with my own pink version in 5-6 years!! Last spring I was walking through a local nursery and they had a bunch on sale 70% off. I bought all that I thought would live. I have no idea what color they are or anything. Right now, the red one has several buds showing - I can hardly wait for the others to bloom and show me their true colors.

Positive

On Feb 8, 2010, Oberon46 from (Mary) Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b) wrote:

I have coveted this little flower for years, and even tried it once before. No luck. I went to the local nursery and asked if they ever ordered it and was told no as it doesn't do well here, if at all. So I ordered three and put them in a totally neglected full shade damp spot between my house, fence and gate (about 36x36"). They survived the winter! They bloomed the next spring! I ordered some more, hybrids this time. It is Feb and they are under about 2' of snow, but I can hardly wait til spring. Down side is that this area is one of the last go lose its snow cover. I may have to 'assist' in this process, being mindful of late frosts. I am sooooo happy.

Positive

On Feb 8, 2010, margieseyfer from Wheat Ridge, CO wrote:

Here in Denver it took five years before this plant bloomed.
Every year I put a spade in the ground to dig it up and then decided to wait just one more year. Boy, am I ever glad I did.

Positive

On Feb 8, 2010, caf132 from West Bloomfield, MI wrote:

I have hundreds of Lenten Roses. If you have the room plant more than one different flower type or color next to each other. they will cross breed. Collect the seeds or leave them fall and if you are patient, and wait a few years, you may have a nice flower worth patenting.

Positive

On Feb 8, 2010, grdnkupkake from Eden, Ontario
Canada wrote:

This is the first time I have ever heard of these, and would love to get some. I hope our local garden centers will have some in the spring. I live in Southern Ontario, so they should grow well here....At least I hope so. I find this site to be the most informative about plants and such. I look forward to every Monday just so I can read everything. I often keep the mail, so I can go back and reread some articals of plants that I already have in my gardens, and for advice on what grows well together. I just want to say "thanks for all the great info".

Neutral

On Feb 8, 2010, purplemomma from Archie, MO wrote:

I just planted mine last fall and they are doing well so far. I found a homemade "tonic" in a Jerry Baker book ,to repel mice,voles moles,rabbits etc... It stopped rabbits from eating my new plants.Mix 1 C.ammonia,1/2 C. liquid dish soap,1/2 C. urine( it works!),1/4 C.castor oil. Mix in a 20 gallon hose-end sprayer and saturate all the animal runs and burrows you can find(I also saturated the ground around my beds). I hope this helps!

Neutral

On Feb 8, 2010, shirleyd from Starkville, MS wrote:

I have grown a number of these plants-----all beautiful. Unfortunately, the voles have devoured many of them, and I can think of no way to solve that problem.

Shirleyd
Starkville, Ms 39760
Zone 7b

Positive

On Feb 5, 2010, Quilterpeg from Lebanon, OR wrote:

Found several Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis) plants blooming this morning in my garden in Lebanon OR. Didn't know what they were but found your site and I'm now hooked. I will be a regular to your site. Now I want more of these plants as we have quite a bit of shade. Don't ever remember seeing in the yard before but they could have been hidden behind other stuff. This is a yard with quilte a bit of old plants from when the house was built in 1910. Our home is an old Craftsman Bunglow.
Thanks for being out there when I needed to know about this great plant.
Peggy

Positive

On Mar 6, 2008, dun1kirk from Berkeley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Beautiful flowers, especially for shade. Mine become infested with aphids.

Positive

On Apr 29, 2007, katsu from Columbus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant does very well in dry, deep shade. Love the foliage - it looks great almost all year, then you get to cut off any of the old leaves that look bad once the new leaves come out. And then you get the cool little flowers in Spring. What else do you need? : )

Positive

On May 5, 2006, Leehallfae from Seattle, WA wrote:

Lenten Rose does okay in Zone 8b (Seattle, Washington).

This is the place for Shade gardens. :)

Positive

On Apr 28, 2006, deerandme from Newark, OH wrote:

Love this rugged plant that the deer will NOT touch. Have 20+ under some oak trees that delight us year round. This year are planting them on a steep hill so we can look up into the lovely blossoms.

Positive

On Apr 10, 2006, karribella from Ward, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

I bought mine after reading about them in our local paper. I am very pleased them. During our summer vacation last year our house-watcher neglected them and they died. I was pleasantly surprised to find some of them growing back this winter!!!! They are in almost full shade and wet soil and still do great!!!

Neutral

On Jan 26, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Blooms mid April in my garden.

Positive

On May 23, 2005, bed24 from Denver, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:

My favorite plant without a doubt. Seems to do well for me with more sun than what's suggested. I've been so surprised and pleased at how rugged they really are. The ones I planted 2 years ago are now so full and lush and have been flowering continuously since March.

Positive

On Feb 23, 2005, laurawege from Wayland, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have several of the plants they are such a welcome sight when the snow thaws to see something in bloom! mine are happy just about anywhere but didn't do as well under my butternut tree
( juglone)
laura

Positive

On Feb 13, 2005, jestelleoan from Tyler, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

The helleborus plants grow very well in Tyler, Tx. They are great shade plant and here they start to bloom in late January. They do not like a lot of fuss here just a little mulch or better yet some compost in spring and fall. I think the are wonder.

Positive

On Jan 12, 2005, cwingo from Oak Ridge, TN wrote:

This plant does well in Oak Ridge, TN. I started with one plant given to me a few years ago and now I have 20 very nice plants blooming. This has become one of my favorite plants. I raised them from seed. It took 3 to 4 years to bloom.

Positive

On Sep 4, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

A delightful evergreen perennial plant that forms dense clumps to 50cm wide. This plant likes a shady and moist soil in the shade. Likes a nutrientfull soil. Good for massing under trees. pokerboy.

Positive

On May 16, 2004, verdiway from Clarkston, GA wrote:

This is my plants second year (purchased in gallon container Fall 2002) and was amazed by the amount of blooms I have had from February to present (5.16.04.)

I will seek out new colors of the Lenten Rose to add to my shady Atlanta garden again this fall.

Positive

On Mar 10, 2004, erin_1954 from Huntsville, AL wrote:

Never seen one before, but I'd heard of them. Three of them popped up in my North Alabama yard, which we just moved into last July. They've been blooming since February, and a mild freeze sort of slowed them down, but they're still blooming as of early March.

Positive

On Mar 3, 2004, organist from Buffalo, NY wrote:

The reason for cutting the old leaves off Lenten Roses because soon they will be lying against the ground and turning black. Don't worry - the new growth will look fine! I wait until the new leaves are pretty much out before I cut the old ones.

Positive

On Feb 24, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

For colder zones, don't cut the evergreen leaves until February. I just cut mine yesterday (Feb 23) here in Zone 6. The right time is when you see the new flower buds and leaves emerging. About that time, the old foliage flops over anyway. I was greeted with 50 or so seedlings when I removed the fallen oak leaves that were around my plant yesterday. They had germinated in the dark under the mulch.

Positive

On Feb 14, 2004, Karenn from Mount Prospect, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

To achieve good blooms, you should cut back the leaves of helleborus DEPENDING on your zone placement. If you are in Zone 4 or 5, you should cut the leaves in FEBRUARY, not November. Or JUST AFTER the snow melts.

Positive

On Dec 31, 2003, chris_peeters from antwerp
wrote:

To keep Helleborus orientalis healthy, and produce a lot of flowers, you should prune back late in the year (exact timing depends on your zone.)

Positive

On May 30, 2003, JBest from Clairton, PA wrote:

The very first flower in my garden every March. Beautiful soft green shades. It gets morning sun and afternoon shade. A must for any garden.

Positive

On Aug 31, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant provides a beautiful backdrop all summer to flowering plants, and provides beautiful colorful blooms in the winter through late spring. Outstanding perennial for dry-ish areas, very suitable for drought-inclined areas. Self-seeds throughout its lifetime, but is not invasive.

Positive

On Aug 31, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

One of my all-time favorite plants. Small plants set out this spring have put on a lot of new growth already; I'm hopeful they'll bloom this winter.

Positive

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

This plant has the most beautiful, bold foliage for shady areas. Grows in zones 4-9. Flowers bloom in late winter or early spring and can range from white to green to purplish to pink. Beautiful plant.

Neutral

On Dec 21, 2000, dave wrote:

This is an attractive evergreen perennial that maintains its lush green leaves year-round. Its blooms, which are of various colors, begin in mid-winter and last through the spring.

It needs well-drained and nutrient-rich soil in a shady spot.