Hellebores are typically pretty easy to grow here in Northern California, requiring partial shade, well-draining soil and moderate irrigation. They come in a staggering range of colors, from the deepest maroon to the palest ivory. They’re usually categorized as either having upright blooms on tall stems (aka: caulescent) or no stems, typically with downward facing blooms (aka: acaulescent).
The tricky part, in my opinion, is placing those with downward-facing blooms where they can be best appreciated. One solution is to plant them in containers to help elevate the plants to better view their gorgeous flowers.
Even though nursery tags suggest regular irrigation, I’m amazed at how often I see huge clumps of hellebores thriving in neglected gardens, with little to no additional irrigation. These tags also suggest planting them in the shade, but again, I’ve seen them blooming like crazy in full sun.
Go figure! I love plants that don’t read their own tags!
The taller blooms of Corsican hellebores, however, are one of my all-time favorites.
Their lime-green flowers begin opening in early February and last for several months, slowly fading to a mellow shade of olive green. And long after the flowers are gone, the shapely, serrated foliage lasts throughout the rest of the year providing many more months of seasonal interest.
After visiting the garden of Freeland and Sabrina Tanner this past weekend, I was excited to see this fairly recent introduction called ‘Silver Dollar’.
Its leaves look like they’re brushed with silver, the new growth is tinged purple and the bright, upward-facing yellow bloom makes for a cheery combination in the garden.
My favorite varieties of hellebores are those with deep, dark colors. These are the colors that just about make my heart stop beating…
I love this combination of hellebore orientalis ‘Red Lady’ combined with the chalky blue sticks of the senecio.This hellebore lividus is growing in a container on my patio. It’s a dwarf variety, only reaching about 1-foot high, so I’ve raised it up a bit so I can better appreciate the flowers
It’s a fairly tough hellebore, however it does want warmer summers than I have here in my Zone 9 climate. So far I’ve had good luck with it (knock on wood)…For a more information on Hellebores, Tony Avent wrote a great article here filled with everything you’d ever want to know about growing these beauties in your own garden.