The most common cultivar is the Lenten rose, justly named because it tends to blossom around the same time as Lent (March/April). The plant, which forms clumps of green leaves and then produces septals that hang downward, offers beauty to an otherwise naked landscape.
Hellebores are slow growing and may not bloom the first year. However, they are drought-tolerant, have leaves that stay green until fall and are deer proof.
They can be planted among daffodils, tulips, snowdrops and grape hyacinths. If planted in the spring or fall, they will get off to a good start before the heat or the cold arrives. Rich, moist, well-drained soil is preferred, and hellebores can tolerate either shade or part sun.
Water deeply at first, then every two or three weeks during the summer. The soil needs to be lightly mulched and nourished with compost. You may apply liquid fertilizer after the plant is established. Hellebores can be purchased from seed catalogs and garden centers. Beware, some are pricey.
Adding hellebores to your flower beds expands the possibility of a year-round garden.
“Flowers always make people feel better, happier, and more helpful. They are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.”
– Luther Burbank