I honestly had never heard of a Hellebore until I started horticulture classes. Now I’m hooked on Hellebores! Here’s why..
- They are a perennial and will spread on their own – though they are only 1-3 ft wide.
- Hellebores are some of the first flowers to bloom in spring. Most varieties are hearty in zone 4-9.
- They grow in the shade/partial shade (not taking up cut flower space).
- They don’t require any special attention.
Hellebores come in a wide range of colors. I bought 2 plants in a lucky score from Trader Joes a few weeks ago. One plant has pale lime flowers and the other has white and lavender flowers.
Hellebores are a more expensive plant because by the time they hit the shelves, someone has tended to them for 3-5 years! That is how long it takes for them to bloom and you want to purchase a Hellebore when it blooms so you can see the color as hybrids can change colors even from the tag picture. Most often they range from $17-$24.99.
Hellebores as a cut flower
Hellebores can be used as a cut flower and it would be a shame not to enjoy them indoors when it's still chilly outside, right?! Here are some tips on harvesting.
First it is important to know the parts of a Hellebore flower. In the picture below, the white petals are actually not called petals, they are called sepals. Sepals get waxy when they are ready to harvest, helping them to resist wilting.
The flower part is actually the showy sepals which are a cluster of stamens (not pictured here) and small petals - the green in the center of this picture. Once the flower is fertilized, the stamens and petals are shed and the seed pods start to form at the center of the sepals.
- Cut the stem when the flower has lost it's stamens. The pictures below show them with stamens gone and the right time to harvest. If you cut them when they still have the stamens, they will certainly droop.
- If a stem is woody at the bottom, cut a slit up both sides of the stem to open up the water absorbing tissue.
- Once cut and placed in cool water, the flower should last a few days to a week.
Do you have hellebores? Let’s talk!