How To Grow Hellebores

Hellebores provide excellent interest all year round from their thick leathery leaves to their flowers during winter and spring. A must-have plant for winter, they come in numerous colours, shapes and sizes and are tolerant of shade and moist soils. Here are some handy tips on how to grow beautiful Hellebores.

Here is everything you need to know on ‘How To’ grow Hellebores.

Soil

Hellebores are not fussy plants. Provide good drainage and they will quite happily grow away with very few problems. Preparing the soil before planting will help your hellebores produce extensive root systems. They will become reasonably drought tolerant once they are established. The thing to remember is that they enjoy moist soils that do not become waterlogged. You should provide them with deep soil for drainage and rooting space as well as humus-rich organic matter. This will help retain any moisture in the soil.

Close-up of a white hellebore with purple spots in a garden.
Site

Although Hellebores will tolerate shade, they will flourish if you give them light. You need to get the right balance; too much sun and the soil that they are planted in is likely to become baked and dry. It’s best to provide shade during the hottest parts of the year and plenty of light the rest of the year. This regime will help them flower more prolifically so planting them under deciduous trees will provide the perfect conditions.

Feed

Hellebores are members of the buttercup family and so enjoy lots of feed during the growing season. Good quality soil may not need additional fertiliser, but using fertiliser will benefit growth and flowering. Start feeding your hellebores from April, and continue to do so through to August. Use a complete and balanced fertiliser and if you’re growing in containers slow-release fertiliser is the best choice.

A macro shot of a helleborus double ellen pink bloom.
Maintenance

If you have a busy lifestyle then Hellebores are the perfect plant for you because they are low maintenance. Even with the smallest amount of maintenance, your Hellebores will continue to look great for years to come. Only the most raggedy looking foliage needs to be removed during Autumn and Winter. Once the flowers are spent you can cut them back – unless you want to collect your own seed.

A macro shot of a white helleborus bloom.
Container Grown

Like most plants, Hellebores can be grown in pots. This is ideal because you can move them around your garden depending on the conditions at any given time. However, there are a few things you have to keep in mind. Most hellebores have deep root systems, therefore you will need a deep pot to plant them in. Ideal pot sizes for most species are 30cm in diameter. Of course, container growing has the advantage of providing excellent drainage, but you do have to be careful. Make sure that the growing media doesn’t dry out in the height of summer.

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