Hellebores are easy to grow and are undemanding. They look good from January to May – even when their seed has set, their sepals are persistently handsome, eventually becoming green. Their foliage is bold and evergreen, and in some of the new hybrids the marbled leaves are just as celebrated as the flowers.
Hellebores are typically woodland edge plants. They thrive in rich, moisture-retentive soil but struggle in boggy and wet conditions. They lend themselves to naturalistic schemes and informal plantings, and are perfect partners for early-flowering bulbs, pulmonarias and evergreen ferns. The colours of their sepals are multifarious, from the softest woodpigeon grey to pale apricot or damson, and from leaf green to the deepest black or pure white. They can be striped or spotted, picotee or plain, double or anemone-centred or simply single. Almost all of them have evolved methods of successful procreation.