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Helleborus x hybridus (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Helleborus x hybridus (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Zone
Zones 3B, 4-9, 14-24, 31, 32
Full SunPartial SunNo Sun
Full, Partial, Shade
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal
Toxicity
All parts are poisonous if ingested.

Helleborus argutifolius

Corsican Hellebore
Ranunculaceae
Evergreen, Perennials

HELLEBORUS

These distinctive, long-lived plants add color to the garden for several months in winter and spring; they are also appreciated for their attractive, leathery foliage. 

Flowers are usually shaped like cups or bells, 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 persist beyond the listed bloom periods, gradually turning green. Blossoms are attractive in arrangements: seal ends of cut stems by searing over a flame or immersing in boiling water for a few seconds. Then place in cold water. Or simply float flowers in a bowl of water.

Mass hellebores under high-branching trees, on north or east side of walls, or in beds. Plants are not damaged by rodents or deer.

Plant in well-drained soil amended with plenty of organic matter. Plants prefer soil that is somewhat alkaline but will also grow well in neutral to slightly acid conditions (H. niger is an exception; it must have alkaline soil). Feed once or twice a year. Don’t disturb once planted; they resent moving and may take 2 or more years to reestablish (if they survive at all). If well sited, however, they may self-sow, and young seedlings can be transplanted in early spring. Offspring may not resemble the parent, but all are attractive. 

Helleborus argutifolius
Helleborus argutifolius

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Helleborus argutifolius

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.

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