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I have a patch of hellebores (about 10 of them).  They didn't flower very well this year, and now all the leaves that have come up are distorted.  i think its black spot, although the black is in patches rather than spots.

Is there anything I can do ?  Or am I going to have to scrap the lot ?

Yes Ckicky, hell black spot.  

In my own garden I have deduced where H B S occurs and where it doesn't and in the drier parts hellebores are free of it.  In an area where I also grow moisture loving plants and where I water during the summer black spot is prevalent.  I reduced the watering or moved hellebores and black spot all but disappeared.  So, for me it is associsted with humidity. 

My regime then is to keep foliage as dry as possible, to make sure other plants do not encroach too much thus providing better air circulation, sprays of seaweed and neem oil and to remove affected leaves....AND STEMS.  I also feed well and mulch well.

I suggest moving one or two hellebores to a drier spot,,cutting all affected foliage to the ground and spraying with a fungicide.  Mulch and keep watered this summer.  


Great advice Verdun ......thats what I will, which ones to choose to move ??🤔

plant pauper

As one who grows fungus for a living....I concur! They like it warm and wet.


Is it black spot or helleborus black death? , which has distorted leaves as one of its symptoms. I had one plant that I bought from wyevale with it. I dug it up and took it back before my other plants were affected. It is caused by a virus transmitted by aphids. It is also known as hellebore net necrosis virus



As fidget says, there is a great deal of difference between black spot, which many Hellebores suffer from, and, don't necessarily cause too many problems, and, Hellebore black death, which is fatal.


Ok - now you have me worried enough to go out taking pictures in the rain definitely black, but do you think it is spot or death 

.....gulps, nervously


Hmm, black streaks following veins, I'm veering more to black death than black spot..

Verdun, what do you think. If it's black spot it's far worse than any I have had. Old leaves I just cut off, but if these are the new leaves, cutting the infected leaves off will probably kill the plant anyway.

Just popped in may be right.  Not looked up black death symptoms lately but  I do recall it is noticeable in the veins.  Agree black spot is quickly forms "clouds" of black followed by yellowing leaves.   Going to google a mo and get back 

plant pauper

Mmmmm looks systemic rather than topical chicky. I'm thinking not good news but we'll await the oracle.

I agree that it looks very much like black death....the giveaway is in the veins, isn't  it fidget?  Plus new leaves, in my experience, should be perfect/unblemished.   Black spot develops on older leaves.

Chicky, were the flowers affected too?  I mean were they black streaked and poor quality? 

Are all your plants the same?  

I think it IS black death.....

not much support now but I try to keep hostas apart, cannas, dahlias, salvias, hellebores, everything really so that should disease, pests, etc., occur it would be localised.  

I would dig up those plants and not plant hellebores there again

sorry chicky.  

Perhaps others have a different view? 


That what I thought. The only one I had infected, I dug up and took back. They said all I had to do was cut off the leaves,  but new leaves were coming through infected. I was offered a replacement, but as all the ones on display were showing signs, I had my money back. All of my Ashwood one's are fine.

Fidget, no cure so you did right thing.  

Feel sorry for chicky though 



thanks for the help though - looks like I have some digging up to do 


It is spread by a specific aphid. Do you think it came with it, or  are there other hellebores in neighbouring gardens that may have it?

Last edited: 18 May 2016 12:50:49


Cause unknown fidget. not sure if it is a specific aphid.  

purchase or acquire only healthy looking plants.  

I check pots and roots on everything for signs of pests for example.  If in doubt I discard them 


RHS believe it is transmitted by hellebore aphid

Whilst it is not certain, I would not buy any plants from a collection where some show signs. aphids may transmit  it to what look like healthy plants in the vicinity. Once signs are showing, it is too late.


We don't really have neighbours, so I can't blame them.  Most of my plants have been grown from plugs - about 4-5 years old now, and have never shown signs before.  One or two more recent were Harvington Hybrids from a Wyevale - they looked healthy when bought, but perhaps were harbouring something.

i might drop a couple of leaves into Wisley's plant pathologists for them to have a look too.

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