Flowers & Blooms

Hellebores: Popular Hybrids and Varieties

Hellebore

Hellebores (also known as Lenten Roses) are becoming more and more popular. There is increased interest in these plants so many people wish to learn more about them and how to care for them properly.

It’s best to plant Hellebores somewhere where you will be able to see them in early spring, before anything else in your garden starts to grow. Some of the best places are those in partial shade. Planting them near walkways is also a good idea.

Hellebores are very easy to grow and maintain. They last for years and they always make your garden beautiful in late winter. They prefer shade and they have beautiful foliage all season long.

The main way to propagate Hellebores was by seed. Divisions were very expensive and slow. In the past years, however, with increased interest in Hellebores, there is a better availability of these plants and different methods available for starting them. However, starting from seed is still the most popular method.

Hellebore

Varieties and Hybrids

The most popular varieties include H. argutifolius and H. foetidus. Another popular variety is H. niger, also known as Christmas Rose. It blooms anywhere from Christmas to Easter (depending on the climate). It has some popular hybrids, such as H. niger ‘Praecox’.

These hybrids are a result of careful selection and hybridization. They are mostly produced using modern propagation techniques, such as tissue culture. This allows for the production of large numbers of great hybrids, though they are still very expensive.

Some notable examples include:

  • H. x sternii: a hybrid of H. lividus and H. argutifolius
  • H. x ericsmithii: a hybrid of H. sternii and H. niger
  • H. x nigercors: a hybrid of H. argutifolius and H. niger
  • H. x ballardiae: a hybrid of H. lividus and H. niger

One of the classic examples of the H. argutifolius and H. niger cross is Helleborus x nigercors or “Honeyhill Joy”. It has a low evergreen clump of shiny blue-tinged leaves. The stems rise in late winter and early spring, bearing masses of huge, out-facing, cream-centered white blooms that develop green tinge as they age. This hybrid produces wonderful mid-winter and early spring display. This plant can give a lot of flowers and make your garden beautiful during cold months.

Photo credit: fotovision47 via photopin cc