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Lenten Rose Helleborus x hybridus

Phonetic Spelling
hel-eh-BORE-us HI-bri-dus
Description

A plant that flowers in winter has a head start in making it onto any plant lover's list. This perennial is one that can grow in Carolina gardens from the mountains and piedmont to the coastal areas.  There are numerous hybrid selections and species available but are often difficult to distinguish, misidentified in trade, and each called lenten rose, a name historically associated with H. orientalis. Despite its common name, Lenten Rose is not a garden rose at all. 

Lenten rose thrives in shade to partial shade. It prefers above-average to rich, well-drained soil with plenty of added compost. They are relatively drought tolerant once established, but do best with consistent moisture and are sensitive to soggy soil. Mature plants form clumps 2 feet tall and 30 inches wide. In colder areas, plants should be sheltered from winter winds. Flowers quickly push up from the ground at the first sign of warmer weather in late winter. Flower colors come in shades of rose, magenta, white, pale yellow, or green. Blooms can last up to two months.

Utilized this plant for border fronts, patios in protected areas, or shady spots in the landscape.  Its leaves and roots are poisonous hence its name deriving from the Greek 'helein'= to injure and 'bora'= food.  In 2005, the Lenten Rose was selected as the Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Flowers nodding, petaloid sepals
  • Short plant with stiff, large, evergreen leaves 
  • Leaves are palmately divided into many leaflets
  • Flower center of numerous stamens outlined by tubular nectaries, or fleshy , beaked capsules

 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Fungal diseases are the main problem. They are intolerant of bright winter sun and high temperatures.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

More information on Helleborus.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Wild Side- A Shady Garden Shaded Patio Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Dark and Handsome'
  • 'Double Ellen Pink'
  • 'Ivory Prince'
  • 'Orientalis Red'
  • 'Penny's Pink'
  • 'Purple Ruffles'
  • 'Royal Heritage'
  • 'Silver Lace'
  • 'Sparkling Diamond'
'Dark and Handsome', 'Double Ellen Pink', 'Ivory Prince', 'Orientalis Red', 'Penny's Pink', 'Purple Ruffles', 'Royal Heritage', 'Silver Lace', 'Sparkling Diamond'
Tags:
#evergreen#perennials#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#red flowers#yellow flowers#shade garden#broadleaf evergreen#spring flowers#winter interest#apvg#moist soil#cpp#well-drained soil#spreading#rich soils#deer resistant#showstopper#long bloom time#clumping#fantz#early spring flowers#border front#patio planting#partial shade tolerant#HS302#late winter flowers#apvg-p#heavy shade tolerant#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Dark and Handsome'
  • 'Double Ellen Pink'
  • 'Ivory Prince'
  • 'Orientalis Red'
  • 'Penny's Pink'
  • 'Purple Ruffles'
  • 'Royal Heritage'
  • 'Silver Lace'
  • 'Sparkling Diamond'
'Dark and Handsome', 'Double Ellen Pink', 'Ivory Prince', 'Orientalis Red', 'Penny's Pink', 'Purple Ruffles', 'Royal Heritage', 'Silver Lace', 'Sparkling Diamond'
Tags:
#evergreen#perennials#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#red flowers#yellow flowers#shade garden#broadleaf evergreen#spring flowers#winter interest#apvg#moist soil#cpp#well-drained soil#spreading#rich soils#deer resistant#showstopper#long bloom time#clumping#fantz#early spring flowers#border front#patio planting#partial shade tolerant#HS302#late winter flowers#apvg-p#heavy shade tolerant#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Helleborus
    Family:
    Melathiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Crosses between H. orientalis and H. odorus and H. purpurescens
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Spreading
    Weeping
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Clustered, green, fleshy capsules, long-beaked, surrounded by persistent sepals.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long Bloom Season
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Five overlapping petal-like sepals surround a bell-shaped crown of yellow stamens. A stalked cyme or panicle, terminal, bracteated, often nodding; bracts gigantic, leaf-like, dark green, entire to sparsely toothed, +/- lobed. 1-many, usually greenish, tinted gold or brown, pink or purple, cup or bowl-shaped, nodding, 3-4" dia; sepals 5, showy, pigmented, broadly ovate-elliptic; inner petal segments numerous, consisting of tubular nectaries, green to greenish-yellow, ephemeral; stamens numerous, anther yellow.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are divided into 7 to 9 segments with an umbrella-like shape. Tough, almost woody stems have leaves and terminal inflorescence on the same stem. Basal or cauline, palmately compound, coriaceous, glabrous; petiloes elongate, peltate; leaflets 3-9, irregularly toothed or serrate.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stout, rhizomatous or exposed.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Patio
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cutting Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade