Distinctive, long-lived plants that add color to the garden for several months in winter and spring, hellebores are also appreciated for their attractive foliage. Each leaf consists of a long leafstalk ending in large, leathery leaflets grouped together like fingers on an outstretched hand. Flowers are usually shaped like cups or bells (those of Helleborus niger are saucer shaped), either outward facing or drooping; they consist of a ring of petal-like sepals ranging in color from white and green through pink and red to deep purple (rarely yellow). Flowers of all hellebores persist beyond the bloom periods listed, gradually turning green.
From Corsica, Sardinia. Erect or sprawling, to 2–3 ft. tall and wide. Substantial enough to use as a small shrub. Blue-green, 6–9-in. leaves are divided into three sharply toothed leaflets. Leafy stems carry clusters of 2-in., pale green flowers from winter into spring. Best hellebore for Southern California; more sun tolerant than others.Helleborus foetidus
From western and central Europe. Grows to 2 1/2 ft. high and wide. The stems are clothed with dark green leaves divided into seven to ten narrow, leathery leaflets to 8 in. long. Clusters of inch-wide flowers are light green with purplish red edges; they bloom winter to spring.
Plant parts are malodorous if crushed or bruised (they don’t smell bad otherwise). Tolerates sun in cool, humid areas. Self-sows freely where adapted.
From Europe. Leaves have no obvious stems. Elegant plant to 1 ft. tall and 1 1/2 ft. wide, blooming Christmas time into spring. Often planted in warm-winter climates but seldom thrives there. Plants of H. orientalis are often mislabeled as Christmas rose. Lustrous dark green leaves are divided into seven to nine lobes with a few large teeth; they seem to rise directly from the soil. White, 2-in. flowers appear singly or in groups of two or three on a stout stem about the same height as the foliage clump. Blooms turn pinkish with age.
From Greece, Turkey, and the Caucasus. Leaves have no obvious stems. Much like H. niger in growth but more tolerant of warm-winter climates. Basal leaves with 5–11 sharply toothed leaflets; branched flowering stems to 1 ft. tall, with leaflike bracts at branching points. Blooms in late winter and spring; flowers are 2–4 in. wide, in colors including white, pink, purplish, cream, and greenish, often spotted with deep purple.Helleborus x hybridus
Leaves have no obvious stems. These hybrid plants generally resemble the principal parent, H. orientalis, but the flower color range has been extended and superior parents selected for seed production. Some are sold under the breeder’s name, such as Ballard’s Group, which has flowers in several colors. Others are sold as color strains, such as Sunshine Selections (white, pink, yellow, or red flowers), Royal Heritage strain (pink, purple, maroon, or white blooms), and Winter Queen mix (white, pink, maroon, or spotted flowers). Others are grouped according to form, such as Party Dress Group, which has double flowers
Hybrid between H. niger and H. argutifolius. Grows to 10 in. tall, with 1-ft.-tall, sterile white inflorescence.
Hybrid of complex parentage, with foliage like that of H. niger. Grows to 1 ft. high and 1 1/2–2 ft. wide; red buds open into ivory white flowers that take on rose and chartreuse tones as they age. Regular water.
From New Zealand, these evergreen foliage plants are slow-growing aralia relatives. In P. crassifo...
These lush plants bear plumes of tiny flowers above large, coarsely divided leaves in summer. Plants g...
Group of about 200 species grown mainly for their flowers’ long, silky stamens (the blossoms loo...