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