How To Plant Hellebores In Pots

Around the holidays, when it is offered as a Christmas rose, container-grown hellebore may be seen. These are frequently used for decorations before being let to rot or are simply thrown away, along with other seasonal plants like poinsettia. However, there is no need to allow your potted hellebore to deteriorate. Until you’re ready to plant it outside, you may either keep it in a pot and enjoy it both indoors and outside all year long.

Hellebores require rich, well-drained soil, so make sure to select a pot with drainage holes and plant them in rich, organic potting soil or amend their current soil with compost. Additionally, as hellebore plants dislike being moved, a large container should be selected. Give your plant room to flourish because moving stress can be harmful. Given that the roots typically grow downward, the pot’s depth is very crucial.

Place your potted hellebores where they will receive the most sunlight over the winter and early spring. As the temperature rises, a little shade will be welcome. In the winter, hellebore prefers cooler temperatures, so make sure it receives sun without getting too hot. Find an elevated spot for your container-grown hellebore so you can completely enjoy it. The flowers have a tendency to fall downward.

Hellebore thrives when grown in the ground outside, but if you’re short on space or just want to enjoy these wonderful blossoms indoors, you should be able to make it happy in a container.

Where should a hellebore be planted for optimum results?

Depending on the variety, plant hellebores in full or partial shade at the front of a border. They can be grown in pots in a compost with a loam basis, but they thrive in rich, well-drained soil.

When to plant hellebores

As long as the soil is not frozen, hellebores can be planted at any time of the year. The majority of hellebores are listed for sale from late winter to early spring when they are in bloom, but you might locate one in a garden center’s clearance section in the summer that you can plant with no issues. Keep in mind that hellebores detest being moved after being planted, so avoid doing so.

How to plant hellebores

Hellebores should be planted in the same way as other perennials, with a spadeful of garden compost and a sprinkle of mycorrhizal fungi to aid in the plant’s establishment. Water thoroughly and gently press in.

Watch Monty Don’s instructional video on planting and growing hellebores to learn about planting depth, soil preparation, and how to prevent leaf spot disease. Additionally, Monty discusses how to select the best flowers for immediate effect and displays the variety of his collection of hellebores:

How to care for hellebores

When blossoms and new foliage appear, trim back the thick, leathery leaves, and mulch the plants every year with well-rotted compost or manure. Once established, hellebores struggle to be moved, therefore try to avoid doing so.

How to propagate hellebores

Avoid dividing hellebores since they struggle to be transported. In order to develop new plants for nothing, gather ripe seed and sow it into modules. Alternately, allow the hellebores in your garden to self-seed. By letting them self-seed at random, you’ll produce a hodge-podge of various colors and flower shapes; you might even develop your own new hybrid! No hellebore seedling will be true to its parents.

Growing hellebores: problem-solving

Leaf spot, a fungus infection that causes unattractive brown and black patches on the leaves, is the major foe of hellebores. When you see damaged foliage, remove it.

Here, Monty Don shows how to recognize hellebore leaf spot and describes how to prevent it from spreading to other plants:

Advice on buying hellebores

  • Garden centers sell hellebores, but you can get a broader selection at specialized nurseries and online
  • Avoid double-flowered hellebores if you are growing for bees because single-flowered plants are the best for pollinators.

How are hellebore plants planted?

Hellebores can be planted at any time between March and August so they have time to grow roots and bloom in the late winter. When you are prepared to sow your hellebores:

  • 1. Decide where to plant. Hellebores thrive in the chilly, late-winter months and, once the summer sun arrives, prefer partial shade to full shade. Under a deciduous tree, which allows them to absorb winter light when the tree’s branches are bare and become shaded after the leaves grow back in the spring, is the best location for hellebore blossoms. If you decide to plant your hellebores somewhere else, pick a shade garden or another location that will shield them from intense summer sun. Gardeners can get a better view of the plant’s downward-facing blooms by planting on a slightly elevated area, either by mounding up the soil or by planting on a hill.
  • 2. Get the dirt ready. Loamy, well-draining soil with a high organic content is preferred by hellebores. Compost or other organic matter can be used to improve the soil, but fertilizer should not be applied right soon because it can burn the roots while they are still fragile from the transplanting process.
  • 3. Fill the voids. Dig a hole just as deep as the pot to avoid burying the root crowns of hellebores plants, as they are susceptible to decay when buried. To allow the plants room to grow, place your holes roughly 15 inches apart.
  • 4. Start the hellebores. Always use gloves when handling hellebores because they are slightly poisonous and can cause minor skin irritation. Squeeze the pot while turning the plant on its side to free it from the container. Place the roots in the hole and fill it with soil if the root ball is particularly compacted. If so, use your fingers to gently soften the soil.
  • 5. Drink some water now. To compact the dirt and hydrate your plant, water the roots.

When ought hellebores to be sown?

Hellebore planting Hellebores should not be planted when the ground is frozen. The best period to grow them is from late fall to early spring. Not much fun for the plant or you. If you are planting in the summer, be prepared to water properly and frequently because plants are more stressed when it’s hot outside. Hellebores like alkaline to neutral soil because they are endemic to hilly areas of Eurasia with limestone bedrock. When planting, adding lime helps balance the pH of our acidic soil. Hellebores thrive in locations with morning sun, dappled shade, or half shade in the Pacific Northwest. It is preferable to stay away from areas with direct sunlight to prevent leaf burning.

How to Make Hellebores Bloom Experience has taught me that there could be a few factors at play if a hellebore plant doesn’t flower. Lack of light may result in few or no blossoms, especially if they are planted in dense shade. Adding compost to the soil in the fall and fertilizing in late March or early September with an organic bloom booster like Dr. Earth Rose and Flower Fertilizer can also address the issue of nutritional deficiency, which is another potential issue. Planting too deeply or burying the crown might also prevent flowers from blooming. You sometimes just need to have patience while your tiny plants develop a little before blooming!

What kind of soil are required by hellebores?

John Massey, the owner of the nursery, offers his suggestions and guidance on how to cultivate hellebores in your garden.

As long as a few straightforward rules are followed, hellebores are simple plants to grow. Although they are “snow-melt” plants, and if you can grow them on a slope, they will automatically be well drained, they love a rich soil with plenty of available moisture during their flowering time, but they also demand excellent drainage. In their natural environment, the majority are found on slightly alkaline soils, although as long as there are adequate of nutrients, it doesn’t really matter if the soil is neutral or slightly acidic. Steer clear of peaty soils, poor dry soils, and wet areas.

It’s crucial to provide them with a protected location away from chilly winds. Hellebores will endure dryer summer weather as long as there is some shade, but keep in mind that year-round overshading can diminish the amount of flowers. The best place for them to thrive is among deciduous shrubs and trees, which will offer them with plenty of light in the winter and spring and some welcome shade in the summer.

I like to combine middle-storey shrubs like Cornus officinalis and Ribes ‘White Icicle’ with Helleborus x hybridus Ashwood Garden Hybrids; these shrubs can be pruned as needed to raise the canopy. Decadent trees’ top stories provide even greater defense from wind and intense sunshine. To lengthen the growing season, I also prefer to plant some non-seeding herbaceous geraniums with July blooms between the hellebores; cultivars like “Rozanne” and “Anne Folkard” work best.

The most crucial step in soil preparation is before planting. Because hellebores have deep roots, amend your soil well and add a lot of humus, such as leaf mould, spent mushroom compost, or well-rotted manure. Keep in mind to water your newly planted hellebores frequently for the first year.

Early in the spring and again in August or September, when the new flower buds are beginning to form, I feed my plants. I frequently use leftover mushroom compost, which has some lime, because it frequently releases nutrients. Be careful not to mulch into the plant’s crown as this could lead to the decay of the buds. I also deal with fish, blood, and bone, and seaweed fertilizer is a wonderful substitute.

In late December, I prefer to remove all the old leaves off semi-deciduous plants (Garden Hybrids or Lenten Roses only). By preventing the growing buds from hiding under the old leaves, this will make the flowers much easier to notice and safeguard them from rodent attacks. If you don’t need the seed after flowering, cut off the old, faded flower stems to promote the growth of new growth the following year. A systemic fungicide should be applied to them on occasion, and you should watch out for aphids in particular because they might spread viruses.

The Ashwood team has provided further cultural insights on raising more

Do hellebores spread?

Hellebore seeds will self-sow, yes. However, if you grow various species adjacent to one another, permitting them to do so can produce unexpected hybrids. Any new seedlings that are too close to mature plants should be thinned off. After three years, self-sown plants should begin to bloom.

Do hellebores need to be divided?

Even while it’s not typically necessary for the plant’s health, the best time to divide them is in the fall. In general, it’s better to just leave hellebores alone because they can be picky about being moved and dug up.

Do hellebores reproduce?

A hellebore will produce anywhere between two and ten divided plants. Plant the divided plants as soon as possible, taking care to prevent the roots from drying out. Plant them in well-prepared, well-drained soil.

How are hellebores cared for outside?

Place the hellebore into well-draining, organic soil in filtered sun or a shady position whether growing from seed or division. The hellebore plant will come back year after year, so make sure the area can expand with it and gets enough sunlight. Hellebores can thrive in gloomy settings with as little as a few hours of dappled light. Plant the hellebore in forest gardens, shaded natural areas, or in between deciduous trees.

The hellebore plant will look its best if the soil where it is growing is soaked. Older leaves should be removed from hellebores when they show signs of deterioration. Careful fertilization is another aspect of caring for hellebores. A surplus of nitrogen may lead to abundant foliage but few flowers.

In the fall, plant hellebore seeds. Hellebore plant seeds require a 60-day moist chilling period before planting. In regions with chilly winters, this can occur spontaneously by sowing seeds in the fall. Young plants developed from seeds should wait three to four years before blooming. In the spring, after flowering, or in the fall, divide overgrown clumps.

What are hellebores used for in the winter?

Early spring or late winter, just as the new growth starts to show, is the perfect time to prune a hellebore plant. This new growth ought to emerge from the earth as little stalks. These stalks ought to still be encircled by a ring of the large leaves from the previous year. The old leaves may very likely have been harmed by the winter’s cold and appear a little worn-down.

These old leaves can be removed as soon as the new growth develops by chopping them off at the base. You don’t need to prune your older foliage as long as it is healthy and undamaged, but once the new growth begins to leaf out, you’ll need to make room for it by pruning the older growth. If you wait too long to remove the old growth, it will tangle up with the new growth and be much more difficult to remove.

Hellebores can be eaten by snails and slugs as well, and the thick foliage provides them with wet, hidden hiding places.

Need ericaceous compost for hellebores?

What kind of soil is ideal for hellebores, and why? A No matter how acidic or alkaline the soil is, as long as it is rich in minerals and has good drainage, it is still beneficial. Hellebores are frequently observed growing on limestone in the environment because these soils typically contain more nutrients.

Which? Gardening magazine evaluated 23 widely accessible hellebore types to determine which would work best in our gardens. Call 029 2267 0000 or subscribe online to Which Gardening to learn more about our suggestions.

How can I make my soil more suitable for hellebores? A Before planting, the soil should always be prepared by adding a lot of organic matter, such as leaf mold, old manure, etc. You can’t use used mushroom compost if you’re planting close to ericaceous plants like rhododendrons because it is a sterile manure and includes a good quantity of lime. After planting, you should always make sure to loosen the soil surrounding your plants.

Caption: Add organic matter and food—like calcified seaweed—to the soil to improve it.

What kind of sites prefer hellebores? A Hellebores may grow in a variety of locations and appear content there, including north-facing boundaries. The key is to plant them behind deciduous shrubs and trees so that they receive sunlight while they flower in February and March but are shaded when the tree and shrub leaves emerge. The deciduous trees and shrubs also have a tendency to block strong, chilly winds and provide shelter from late frosts, both of which can harm flowers when they bloom during mild weather. H. argutifolius and H. x sternii are the exceptions to this rule, as they appear to thrive beneath a needle conifer like a pine or cedar. As hellebores thrive on a slope, the drainage is thereby improved and it is easier to see the hanging blossoms. Hellebores, on the other hand, are also great container plants. Grow them with controlled-release feed added annually in a compost for containers from Best Buy.

What kinds of plants are suitable as hellebores’ neighbors? A Hellebores make excellent bed mates for other early bloomers like Anemone blanda, aconites, Cyclamen coum, hepaticas, and snowdrops. They thrive best when planted beneath acers, Cornus officinalis, hamamelis, and Ribes ‘White Icicle’. Try hostas, peonies, or geraniums like ‘Ann Folkard’ and ‘Rozanne’ for later in the summer.

caption: Hellebores pair well with early bloomers like crocuses and snowdrops.

Do hellebore plants require feeding? If so, when and with what? A Yes, as hellebores are particularly hungry plants, particularly the garden hybrids. It works well to use calcified seaweed or used mushroom compost. Feed in late August or early September when the leaves are prone to becoming flatter and closer to the ground.

Do hellebores need to be mulched? A Only apply mulch very sparsely around the hellebores’ necks to avoid burying the fresh flower buds or growth. Mulching is beneficial. If there are no ericaceous plants nearby, spent mushroom compost is good. This is because it contains chalk.

What diseases and pests affect hellebores? The worst pest is definitely a greenfly. At the end of December, remove all the leaves from the H. x hybridus to prevent mice from eating the flower buds. With the unpredictable weather we’ve been having lately, young flower buds and foliage are susceptible to botrytis and decay. Use a fungicide when spraying ornamental plants. Hellebores should be dug up and burned as soon as they show signs of black veins, which indicates hellebore black death.

How are hellebore plants spread? A The ideal way to grow hellebores is from seed, although they can also be divided right after flowering or in September.

What ought to be done with the seedlings that inevitably appear around existing hellebore plants? How long do they take to bloom? A Remove the old seedheads before the seed pods begin to release seed to completely avoid them. Hellebores can bloom after two years, but three is more common. You can now decide if it’s worthwhile to keep them.