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Helleborus orientalis
Common Name: hellebore, Lenten rose
Family: Ranunculaceae

Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Description: White to pink to rose-purple with yellow stamens
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerates: Deer, heavy shade, dry soil, shallow-rocky soil, air pollution

Habit: This is a terrific herbaceous perennial that is clump-forming, winter- blooming and easy to grow. It has large, cup-shaped, rose-like, usually nodding flowers (3-4" diameter) with center crowns of contrasting yellow stamens. Flowers mostly appear in clusters on thick stems rising above the foliage. Flower color is widely variable, ranging from white and pink to rose-purple, frequently with interior spotting. Leaves are palmate, serrate, leathery, glossy, dark green leaves (7- 9 leaflets). The plant is evergreen in warm climates but deciduous in extremely cold winters. Plants sometimes remain evergreen in moderate winters. Blooms sometimes present when snow is still present and continues into spring.

Culture: Best grown in organically rich, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Locate plants in areas protected from cold winter winds. Clumps establish quickly. Although the foliage is evergreen, it may become scorched and tattered in extremely harsh winters, if not protected from cold winter winds and/or insulated by snow cover. Cut back flowering stems after bloom to promote new foliage growth. New plants can be obtained from division of the clumps and from seedlings which grow up around the plants as a result of self seeding. Native Range: Northeastern Greece, northern and northeastern Turkey, Caucasian Russia

Problems: Leaves, stems and roots are poisonous. No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot and crown rot are occasional problems. A rugged and easy-to- grow plant. Just don’t eat it.

Uses: Group the plants in shady locations under trees or large shrubs, woodland gardens or border fronts. May also be incorporated into a naturalized area where clumps will slowly spread through self-seeding. May also be massed to form an attractive ground cover.

Notes: Genus name comes from the Greek words bora meaning food and helein meaning injures/destroys in reference to the plant’s toxic leaves, stems and roots which are poisonous to humans if ingested. Specific epithet means from the Orient.


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