Hellebores: How To Plant, Grow And Care

One of the most beautiful winter-blooming flowers is Hellebores (Helleborus). People often think of them as dark and dreary during their winter bloom, but they are quite the opposite! With their rich colors and unique blooms, hellebores can add style and life to any garden or home decor. Learn how to grow hellebores indoors and out, how to take care of them, and about the different types of hellebore plants you can find with this article on hellebore flowers!

Hellebore Flowers Characteristics

Helleborus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, order Ranunculales. It was formerly included within the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), but that family now includes only four genera with about 10 species, all from North America, New Zealand, and Australia.

The genus contains about 15-20 species. They are perennial plants with rhizomes and thick roots. All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and other animals if ingested or touched; some species contain helleborin and hellebrin compounds which can be lethal if eaten by humans or other animals. In general, hellebore flowers have six petals arranged like the fingers on one’s hand.


Tips for Growing Hellebores

Hellebore plants are a great addition to any garden, especially if you live in colder climates. They are hardy and easy to care for, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind when growing them. First, be sure to choose the right variety. Several different types of hellebore flowers bloom during the winter months.

So if you’re looking for some color, make sure to select a type that will work best with your climate and growing conditions. Second, be aware of where these plants grow naturally so you can try to replicate those conditions in your backyard or planter box. For example, low-growing varieties should be planted closer to ground level while taller varieties should go in areas where they have room to stretch out and get more light

If you do everything correctly, then these plants can provide years of enjoyment with their gorgeous colors and intricate shapes. However, it’s important to remember that not all species will thrive even if they’re cared for properly. It’s always better to plant several varieties so you don’t end up disappointed!

Fertilizer requirements of hellebores

Different fertilizer options for hellebore flowers are as follows: 

Liquid Fertilizer – Use a liquid fertilizer and water solution to feed the plants by spraying it on the leaves and roots of the plant. 

Organic Fertilizer – Apply an organic fertilizer, such as peat moss, and mix it into the soil before planting or transplanting. It is recommended to fertilize hellebore flowers once a year in late spring or early summer. 

Non-Organic Fertilizer – Use non-organic fertilizers, such as blood meal, to add nutrients to the soil before planting or transplanting.

See Also: Hollyhocks Plant, Grow & Care


 If you want to ensure that hellebore plants flourish, they need to be placed in an area with a good amount of sunlight. Ideally, they should be planted in a spot that receives six hours or more of direct sunlight each day during winter months, when their foliage is at its peak.

During warmer months, hellebores can tolerate less light. You’ll find some varieties thrive with as little as four hours per day! Although hellebore flowers appear lovely all year round if you do have seasonal changes you might want to move these flowers around in your garden throughout fall and spring so they remain happy and healthy.

Soil requirements of hellebores

Hellebores are winter-blooming perennials native to the Mediterranean, but they do well in many parts of the U.S., too. They are usually grown as shade plants, and they love moist, rich soil. When planting hellebore bulbs, be sure to avoid planting them too deeply—the top of the bulb should be level with the ground. Place them at least six inches apart because they will grow quite large over time and need lots of room.

Temperature and Humidity

Hellebore flowers are a popular choice for gardens in the winter. Native to Asia, Europe, and North Africa, hellebores come in a variety of colors and have a long history as symbols of Christmas. 

Helleborus niger is the most common type of hellebore flower with dark green leaves and five petals. Native to central and southern Europe, this plant can grow up to two feet tall but can be used as an annual in warmer climates. 

Helleborus orientalis is native to Eastern Europe and has red-tipped stems with four showy flowers on each stem. This plant prefers cooler weather and can grow up to three feet tall.

Types of Hellebore

Helleborus is a genus of about 20 species of flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae. It was formerly included in the buttercup family, but has been separated because it does not have discoid or flat flowers, and has three petals instead of four or five.

Other genera with three petals are Asarum (wild ginger), Lysimachia (loosestrife), and Anemone. They are commonly known as Lenten roses and belong to the same family as other Lenten flowers such as Adonis vernalis.

Propagating Hellebore

Hellebore flowers are one of the most popular members of the genus Helleborus and come in various colors and sizes. They can be propagated by dividing them, but they are not difficult to grow from seed or cuttings. To propagate Helleborus by division, dig them up with as much of the root system intact as possible and replant them into a container filled with potting soil. Be sure to leave around 3-4 inches between each plant so they do not compete for resources. Once planted, water it well and place it in a location where it will receive ample sunlight. 

Hellebore care is relatively easy.


Helleborus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, native to central and southern Europe. They are shade-loving, woodland plants that typically grow from corms or rhizomes. A favorite in the Victorian era with its interesting flowers and long-lasting stems, there are now many varieties of hellebore for you to choose from. 

Helleborus argutifolius – Unlike other members of this genus, H. argutifolius is deciduous and appears in late winter or early spring just before the leaves come out on trees. It has dark green foliage with white flowers that grow on spikes approximately six inches tall, but can be trimmed back if desired to maintain it at a smaller size.

Growing Hellebore From Seeds

Helleborus plants are hardy perennials, which is why they make a great addition to the perennial garden. They thrive in most climates and can be planted in the fall or early spring. When planting Helleborus seeds, it is best to use a pot that is at least 10 cm deep.

Fill the pot with potting soil and sow the seed on top of it. Cover it with about 1/4 inch of soil, but no more than 3/4 inch of soil. After planting, water lightly and wait for germination. Seeds should start germinating within three weeks, but often it takes longer for them to sprout in cooler weather or if the seeds were old when you purchased them.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Hellebores are highly resistant to most pests and diseases, but be on the lookout for these common issues. 

Fungal leaf spots can cause unsightly brown or black spots on leaves and can reduce a plant’s vigor. To prevent infection, remove diseased leaves when they first appear in summer or fall, provide good air circulation and avoid overcrowding. 

Root rot is caused by soil staying too wet for too long. To avoid this issue, only water when the soil is dry to the touch, and make sure you have good drainage so excess water doesn’t sit around on top of the ground. 

Verticillium wilt is one of the few major diseases that hellebore plants are susceptible to. It causes wilting and yellowing between the veins of foliage. It may take months for symptoms to show, so if you notice wilting during growth periods it may not be verticillium wilt. However, verticillium will kill a plant quickly with severe symptoms appearing within days. Be sure to cut out any dead branches immediately as well as dig up any plants with suspected verticillium-infected roots before they spread further throughout your garden or yard.

How to Get Hellebore to Bloom

Hellebore plants are hardy perennials that grow in zones 3-8 and require little maintenance. They look great throughout the year, but their showiest time is in the winter when they bloom brightly. When first planted, hellebores need to be planted about 2 inches deep with the buds facing upwards.

Be sure to water them well after planting and once or twice a month thereafter if it doesn’t rain. Early spring can be problematic for hellebore plants because they sometimes wake up too early and get frosted or frozen before they have a chance to blossom.


Hellebore flowers are a great addition to any winter garden. They are easy to grow and come in a wide variety of colors. They will also last for years if you take care of them properly. Make sure to water the plants once a week and keep the soil moist, but not wet. If they are not planted properly and have too little or too much room around them, they may not grow and flower properly.

Have them in a sheltered area so they will be protected from strong winds. If the plant flowers but does not produce any new leaves, the roots may not have produced enough food to sustain the plant. Covering the soil with compost will help it produce a healthier root system. These plants need plenty of sunlight to mature and bloom properly. They also need a lot of room between each other as well as proper drainage to thrive.


What plants are similar to hellebore?

Hellebore flowers are a favorite among flower lovers because of their easy care and stunning appearance. There are several types of Helleborus plants, including the Christmas rose, Lenten rose, and Peruvian lily. All Helleborus plants produce gorgeous, fragrant flowers with varying shades of pink, white, or purple petals. They’re also deer-resistant and not bothered by rabbits or other critters. Planting one in your garden will provide you with all-season flowers to enjoy!

How fast do hellebores grow?

Helleborus is a genus of about 20 species of perennial flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, native throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere. It was formerly treated in Liliaceae. These are herbaceous plants with basal leaves and clusters of showy flowers which are either pendulous or erect, depending on the species. 
The hellebore plant is one of the few cold-hardy plants that bloom in winter and can be found growing naturally near woodland edges and along stream banks. 
Helleborus viridis (green hellebore) is considered to have a shallow root system and is therefore susceptible to being uprooted during heavy rain or windstorms if it has not established a good root system.

Where do hellebores grow best?

Hellebores, also known as Lenten Rose, grow best in the cool climates of US Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8. They prefer moist soil and partial shade. Though they are sensitive to frost, you can keep them from dying back by covering them with a sheet or blanket if temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit overnight.

Are hellebores the same as Christmas roses?

Helleborus is a genus of about 30 species of flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, native to Europe, western and central Asia, and North Africa. Some sources include the genera Aconitum, Adonis (now considered to be part of Aconitum), Galanthus, and Narcissus within this genus.
There are three main types of hellebore flowers – Christmas Roses, Lenten Roses, and Summer Snowflakes. Christmas Roses are easy to care for but do not bloom until December or January. Lenten Roses are a little more difficult to care for as they require less water but will bloom in early spring. Summer Snowflakes have the most delicate petals and need the most care with watering, fertilizing, and shading from sunlight.

How poisonous are hellebores?

Helleborus are not particularly poisonous but they can irritate humans if eaten raw or used on open wounds.

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