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5 Reasons You Should Plant Lenten Rose

Looking for easy care perennials that bloom in early spring? Here are 5 reasons you should plant the lenten rose.

It’s interesting I haven’t mentioned much about lenten roses through the years.

And that’s because I hadn’t planted them.

Not sure why that is, but I did not fully appreciate them. Until now!

A great gardening friend gifted me the stinking hellebore so I did have one plant.

But I’m not sure why I didn’t gravitate to these sooner.

Whatever the case is, I am in LOVE with them now because my new gardens are full of them.

And since we are in the prime of spring gardening season, you’ve got to plant some hellebores in your garden this year.

Here are 5 reasons why!

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About the Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose (Helleborus x Hybridus) is a perennial hyrbrid that hails from the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). It is not part of the rose family, although the name is a bit deceiving.

The blooms are rose-like, but hellebores get their name from when they bloom, which is during the season of Lent.

Lenten roses flower in late winter with an extended bloom time, and are a welcome sign of the gardening season to come.

Hellebores grow gorgeous leather-like evergreen leaves.

The height of maturity is roughly 12-18″.

It prefers partial shade to shade locations with moist, well-drained loamy soil that is slightly acidic to alkaline.

Hardy to zones 4-9, the lenten rose flower colors range from whites, to pinks and purples.

The plant is known to be toxic to animals. CLICK HERE for toxicity information for your pets.

They can also be toxic to humans, so do not ingest them and wear gloves while working with them in the garden. CLICK HERE for toxicity information.

So why plant them?

close up of pink lenten rose hellebores

5 Reasons to Grow Hellebores This Year

If you are not growing them yet, you should!

And here’s why.

Lenten Rose Hellebores Bloom Early and Long

If you want to early blooming flowers in your garden, look not further than the lenten rose.

Because they start flowering in late winter and have a long bloom time that can last about 6 months, hellebores are a great start flower for the cottage garden.

Mine here at the new house started blooming in March before the daffodils started flowering and are still blooming profusely today.

I truly did not appreciate their beauty and what they do in the garden until now.

It’s been so fun discovering where my hellebores are coming up here at the new house.

And they make great cut flowers to bring indoors and make arrangements.

close up of pink and white hellebores in the front porch garden with copper linda vater plant support

Hellebores Are Easy Care Perennials

If you want to grow a garden that requires minimal work from you, plant the lenten rose.

It not only blooms early in the growing season, but it is also super easy to care for!

Simply cut back brown or deceased foliage in winter on a warm day after you see new foliage emerge and the hellebore will do the rest.

Keep them hydrated and mulch them well, but once established they can take drier conditions. (The New Jersey weather seems to do a good job on it’s own because I’ve done nothing for mine here and they are doing well).

close up of purple lenten rose hellebores that are purple

Hellebores Grow and Bloom in the Shade

If you are looking for an easy-care perennial that grows and blooms in shadier locations, lenten rose is a great option for your garden.

Hellebores prefer shadier locations, so woodland gardens in particular are great spots to grow them.

While flower color fades as summer approaches, blooms can stick around for about 6 months.

Lenten roses do not need to be fertilized. To nourish these gorgeous perennials, simply amend the soil with good organic matter like compost and mulch that will break down over time and enrich the soil.

stinking hellebore lenten rose in shade garden with different hosta varieties, variegated willow and wine and roses weigela and joe pye weedhappy gardening in the backyard garden
Stinking hellebore in bottom far left next to the hostas.

Lenten Rose Hellebores Are Easy to Propagate

If you want to grow your garden for free, propagation is the way to go.

And the lenten rose is easy to divide or grow from seed.

They prefer not to be dug up and moved, but can take divisions and can bloom more profusely the following growing season.

Hellebores do best when mature plants (have had three seasons of flowers) are divided in late spring.

While transplanted divisions can bloom in their first season, don’t fret if they don’t. They make take some time to establish and develop a good root system.

Lenten roses are also easy to start from seed but require a stratification period (a chill period) to help seeds germinate.

And they seem to reseed themselves as well too.

close up of lenten rose  flowers - Hellebore flowers in spring at my 1850 farmhouse

Lenten Rose are Deer Resistant

If you have problems with deer like I do here in New Jersey, hellebores are a great deer resistant option because you won’t need to worry about like other perennials.

Deer can sense when a plant is toxic and will avoid eating them.

The leather like leaves are also less palatable to them.

And while deer will dine on anything, lenten roses are perennials that they typically avoid.

Therefore, hellebores are a great early blooming plant for the cottage garden.

For more deer proof gardening strategies, CLICK HERE.

close up of pink hellebores lenten rose

More in the Garden

Are you already growing hellebores in your garden? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind the scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it on the blog. Would love to see you there too!

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close up of purple hellebores
close up of purple lenten rose - hellebores

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

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  1. Stacy,
    I have loved Hellebores since we )ived in Virgini and I discovered what a great and beautiful shade plant they were. When we moved to N.C.9 yrs ago I made sure t[ bring,some with me and they have spread and self hybridized to my delight. Many of my plants were purchased from PineKnot Gardens in Clarksville Va and it is wonderful nursery. My Master Gardener group used to make a trip in Feb or March to view the beautiful gardens and do lots of shopping. Check out their website.

    1. Oh if I still was able to garden I’d plant these.

      I’m trying to plant some cutting flowers in pots this year.

      I don’t them ridiculously tall do I’m checking the internet


      1. I bet you can grow these in containers if you wanted to try them. I can’t wait to see what you grow!

  2. Great minds think alike! I shared a post on Hellebores this weekend that I think you will love. I hadn’t seen your post when I posted mine, but now that I have I edited it to include one of your photos and a link back to this post, (if that’s okay with you) https://followtheyellowbrickhome.com/hello-hellebores/

    I am happy to feature you this evening at this week’s All About Home Link Party. Thanks for linking up!

    1. I would love that so much Amber. Thank you! I’ll do the same! That is so funny – they look so pretty right now!

  3. These are so pretty! I have never grown these, but am excited to learn about the beautiful blooms! I am excited to feature this post at Tuesday Turn About this week. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Love Hellebores. I’ve not planted them where I live now but I definitely will.
    You have a whole family of them to enjoy. Thank you for bringing these to my attention.

    1. They prefer shade to part shade but I have to say, there are a few planted here in part to full sun and they seem to be fine! It’s definately closer to part sun than full, but its definitely more sunny where they are.