Helleborus orientalis

Lenten rose

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial

Flower colour



Flowers, Dramatic foliage



Skill level


Helleborus orientalis

Plant details

A winter-flowering staple in the cottage garden, hellebores produce large clusters of saucer-shaped flowers with white, pink, green, mauve or smoky purple flowers. The large leathery, evergreen leaves persist throughout the year but should be cut back in the spring when flowers and new foliage emerge. Plants hybridise and self-seed freely.

The Lenten rose, Helleborus orientalis is native to woodlands of Greece and Turkey. Its white or green, saucer-shaped flowers appear from midwinter to early spring, and develop a pink hue with age.

For best results, grow Helleborus orientalis in moist but well-drained soil in partial shade. Propagate by fresh seed, or divide plants in autumn or early spring. All parts of the plant may cause serious discomfort if ingested and the sap may irritate the skin.

Family: Ranunculaceae

Genus: Helleborus

Species: orientalis

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Flower colour: Pink

Foliage colour: Dark green

Feature: Flowers, Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Chalky/alkaline, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 45cm

Spread: 60cm

Time to divide plants: May to June

Flowering period: February to April

Reader reviews


I recently bought two large and rather expensive hellebores which have wilted and the leaves have subsequently died. However today I found new shoots forming under the dead leaves. I have removed the dead leaves with the hope that the plants will come back to life.
Any hints or tips on hellebores would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks
Barbara Hawkins


I divided these before moving house in the spring and they have settled beautifully into my new garden. I'm so glad they've survived as they can be expensive to buy from new.


I have bought and planted hellebore orientalis seeds 2 years running. kept them in the greenhouse but have had no germination at all. where am i going wrong ?


I have grown Hellebores for the last six years in my garden (clay soil) They have proved to be very successful. If the flowers are left on,they will self seed very freely. I currently have trays with at least 150 seedlings waiting to be potted on. Cut back any dying or blotchy leaves before the flowers bloom. They should regrow in the spring.

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