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Helleborus niger

Christmas rose

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial

Flower colour






Skill level


photo by Juliette Wade, copyright GAP Photos (317900)

Plant details

The Christmas rose has large, round, white flat-faced flowers and leathery, deep green foliage. However it cannot always be guaranteed to flower at Christmas - many plants do not flower until the same time as other hellebores, later in the spring. The best way to be sure of getting an early flowering strain is to visit a garden centre at Christmas and pick a plant actually in flower then. Christmas rose can also be grown in pots of John Innes potting compost and kept under cover in a cold frame, sunroom or frost-free greenhouse to encourage earlier flowering. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Ranunculaceae

Genus: Helleborus

Species: niger

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Partial shade, Shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Acidic, Chalky/alkaline, Dry

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 45cm

Spread: 45cm

Time to plant seeds: September to November

Flowering period: December to February

Reader reviews


It may be called a Christmas rose but this plant has never flowered for me in December. I have clay soil and it thrives well.I have also moved with no problem. It is now the end of December and the flower buds are ready to burst open anytime soon. Apart from removing old leaves and seed heads, very little maintenance.

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