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new to gardening, do hellebores need to be cut back? if so when.

You should cut off all the old foliage in late winter or early spring as the new foliage and flwoer stems appear.   This helps you see the flowers better and removes old growth which is prone to disease so keeps your plants healthy..


that is good to know thanks obelixx.. sorry just popped on as saw this thread and i was wondering the same thing.


You can also dead head them (ie removing flowers) around now, when they're looking a bit tatty, unless you want them to seed about.

many thanks to obelixx and gardeningfantic also figrat, happy gardening.


Following on from this thread - is it too late to cut off the leaves as my plants are blocking all light from those behind.

Alina W

You can still cut off any old ones, but the plant really needs the new ones left alone. However, taking off the odd new leaf won't matter.


This advice applies only to H. x hybridus (x orientalis). If you have H. niger then you should only remove dead or dying leaves as they occur, in the ratio of one old leaf for one new one. The same aplies to almost all of the other Hellebores too.


I work on removing the old, tatty leaves off the orientalis by New Year- you can often already see the flower buds ready to break by then.

Only this last week have finished removing the spent flower stems off them & the Nigers, plus the odd very tatty leaf off the latter. I grow my Nigers in pots as the only way can keep them in my garden.

The 'Corsican' type- soz cant remember the latest correct name- I remove the old foliage in spring allowing the new shoots to grow- they are the ones that will flower next year, so dont remove those leaves in the winter, or no flowers. Be prepared to stake these big plants too as they grow. The other sorts dont need any staking. J.

Thanks Berghill - I have H. augustifolia


Do you mean H. argutifolius or H. angustifolius? H angustifolius is probably H. viridis.

H. argustifolius is the one Jo4eyes refers to as 'the corsican one'. As he rightly says it may be cut down in very ealry Spring or later winter. Seed head can be removed about now, but they are short lived plants and it may be best to allow some seeds to fall, for replacement plants.

It is now the first of august, can I prune my white hellebores now without causing any damage?

If it still has some flowers remove those.  Cut off any diseased leaves right to the ground.  Mulch if you can.  However, too early to remove healthy autumn  job


Can I remove dead flower heads now From hellebores? Leaves are still green and healthy.

Yes,,definitely.  Faded flowers just drain energy.  Unless you want seedlings of course but they spoil the initial clump for me 

Hi - concerning hellebores, I read somewhere that the leaves can be cut off before the buds flower, to allow more light to get to the buds - sounds a bit dramatic to me,has anyone else come across that suggestion?


I thinks its's what most of us do jenny, there's not much life left in the old leaves by the new year and new leaves come with, or just after, the flowers. 

I do mine around the turn of the year if I get round to it. The ones I do look better than the ones I don't.

I start doing this in October.

not only does the lack of foliage present the flowers better but removing the leaves helps keep H. Black Spot at bay. 

A good mulch then too