Plant Profile | Winter-Flowering Hellebores

Spectacular, winter-flowering Hellebore varieties are one of the few plants that bloom from late autumn all through winter. With Helleborus niger varieties also known as the ‘Christmas Rose’, they truly are plants of the season.

These easy-to-grow perennials offer an array of colours plus outstanding forms to make your winter borders and containers a thing of real beauty.


Winter Hellebore Varieties

Helleborus niger HGC ‘Wintergold’

Helleborus niger HGC ‘Wintergold’

A robust, low-growing variety that produces striking upward-facing white flowers with many slightly pointed petals from late November. The white blooms are contrasted against the dark green foliage. It makes an excellent cut flower, as well as a superb winter perennial.

Helleborus x ericsmithii HGC ‘Shooting Star’

Produces incredible mounds of creamy white flowers with pink reverses and red stems with rich green foliage. A good choice if you suffer from deer nibbling in your garden.

Helleborus x ballardiae HGC ‘Merlin’

Light pink to pink flowers, which mature to a deep cranberry. Very dark foliage with dark stems. A strong plant, also deer resistant.


Winter Hellebore Profile

Flowering / fruiting time: In general, winter-flowering hellebore varieties will bloom from late November all the way through January.

Sun Requirements: Helleborus niger HGC ‘Wintergold’ is best grown in a partially shaded spot. Helleborus hybrid varieties, however, will grow in full sun as well as part of dappled shade.

Soil: Winter-flowering hellebores like good, well-drained soil

Hardiness: Fully hardy

Eventual size (height x width): Generally low plants, typically growing to around 30cm x 40cm.


Winter Hellebore Growing Guide

Watering

Water thoroughly before and after planting and regularly in the first season. Hellebores do not do well in overly dry conditions, so be sure to water regularly – particularly if they are in a spot that will dry out.

Pruning

All hellebores are evergreen. Simply remove any tatty foliage as you spot it to keep them looking at their best.


Winter Hellebore Planting Ideas

A striking winter duo for creating dots of flowering colour in your garden is in combination with Cyclamen coum.

Pairing winter-flowering hellebores with evergreens is always a good option to ensure that they are all looking good throughout winter – e.g. with Euonymous, Cowslips or ornamental grasses.   

For a combination that will bring low and high-level winter interest that will continue into spring, plant winter-flowering hellebores below and around trees with brilliant winter bark colour or texture. Acers are ideal, such as Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’ or Acer palmatum ‘Bi-Hoo’. Plant your spring-flowering bulbs here too, like Narcissus ‘Tête-á-Tête’ or Galanthus ‘Nivalis’, for an area of garden that will herald the new season.


Winter Hellebore Fact

Where you see the HGC symbol in the variety name of a hellebore, this indicates it is part of the Helleborus Gold Collection ®. Only varieties that meet the highest breeding standards are admitted.

Be aware that Hellebores are toxic and can cause severe discomfort if ingested.