A must-have for the winter garden, hellebores flower from late-winter to early spring.
Hellebores provide a great source of colour in the winter months – some flower as early as December – and will tolerate full sun to almost full shade. They’re rarely troubled by pests and diseases and will self-seed readily all over the garden.
They grow in most conditions, but thrive in well-drained, humus-rich soil, out of direct sunlight. Avoid moving or dividing them once established.
They also make great cut flowers – simply snip off flower heads and float in a shallow bowl of water.
Discover five of the best hellebores to grow, below.
Lenten rose, Helleborus x hybridus
Helleborus x hybridus bears clusters of saucer-shaped flowers coloured white, pink, green, mauve or smoky purple. Blooms may be plain or patterned. Plants will self-seed readily. H x S: 45cm x 30cm.
Corsican hellebore, Helleborus argutifolius
The Corsican hellebore produces pendent, bowl-shaped, green flowers set against spiny, evergreen foliage. H x S: 1.2m x 90cm.
Christmas rose, Helleborus niger
Despite its name, the Christmas rose is unlikely to flower over the festive period and is more usually seen flowering from late-winter. Flowers are white, though sometimes flushed pink, and flat-faced. H x S: 30cm x 45cm.
Stinking hellebore, Helleborus foetidus
Helleborus foetidus has more finely divided, elegant foliage than most hellebores, which produces an unpleasant smell when crushed. Bears clusters of nodding, lime-green flowers from midwinter to mid-spring. H x S: 40cm x 45cm.
Helleborus x ericsmithii
Helleborus x ericsmithii is an unsual three way hybrid hellebore. The evergreen foliage is a rich, deep green, and the flowers are a pale greenish-pink, darkening as they mature. H x S: 45cm x 40cm.
Hellebores in containers
Many hellebores perform well in dry soils, so they’re ideally suited for pots and containers, which can dry out quickly. Have a look at these hellebore pots and containers for inspiration.