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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Helleborus, my loyal and early bloomer.

In zone 4 what blooms in the depth of winter in my garden? Helleborus orientalis, of course.

The Lenten Rose or Christmas Rose is a member of the genus helleborus orientalis comprising of about 20 different species.

Helleborus are a herbaceous perennial flowering plant belonging to the Ranunculaceae family.

You can see the seed head forming. Soon the seeds will spill out and if undisturbed, small little seedlings will appear early next Spring. They can then easily be transplanted.

If you would like to bring them into the house you must first slice the stem lengthwise, almost all the way to the top and "condition" them in cool water and a dark place for a day. A half of a toothpick, placed in the stem, near the head of the flower, will keep their heads from drooping.

The seeds have already spilled from the flower on the right. It is at this stage that you can bring them into the house and they will hold in water without special treatment.

The large green leaves of the Helleborus provide perfect greens for flower arrangements thruought the year.

Many species of the Lenten Rose are poisonous. Alexander the Great is purported to have died because of an helleborus overdose when he took it as a medication.



  1. just lovley...;)...hopefully everything is allright and wish you a great flowerful weekend...until then cheers and hugs...i

  2. Aren't they marvelous?? I'm so glad you have them to enjoy before everything else blooms. I find them incredible plants, actually. Have a lovely weekend, Gina! – g

  3. Dear Georgianna, I remember a recent photograph of yours where helleborus were blooming among a carpet of many other flowers. What a magical carpet it was. Enjoy your well deserved holiday.

  4. Hello Ines, yes, all is well here. Still having cold temperatures. Flowers are few. Wishing you a very happy Mothers Day.

  5. I LOVE helleborus (niger), the white/greenish one. Such a strange and magnificent flower. I even have a French vintage plate with an helleborus painted on (rose de noel). They are perennial, but I've never been able to make them last:(

  6. Hi Francesca, There are several tricks to making a helleborus last. Best is to wait until they have formed seed heads. For new flowers cut stems lengthwise, almost all the way to the top and then submerse in water. Or place in very hot water to revive. All of these tricks work at different stages of maturity. Give it a try, they are worth it.

  7. Hi Gina, how was the fair? I have never even seen this flower before. It is beautiful. xo,

  8. Hi Barbara, It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday and I had a very successful day selling my ceramics. I had a lot of repeat customers from the big city.
    Helleborous are perennials. The will definitely do well in your area. Once they finish blooming, which they will do for many weeks, the rest of the plant stays quite compact and green.

  9. I've only seen a few of these before. You presented such a wonderful array.

    Looking forward to having you join "Where do you keep it all? - Part 2"

    - The Tablescaper

  10. Hi Tablescaper, Always love seeing what wonderful tablescapes you come up with.