Hellebores herald the approach of spring. They often poke their heads up through the snow to delight us with their delicate rose-like blossoms. The long-blooming flowers come in shades of pink, cream, deep purple, and green. These colours change and deepen with age. There are many Hellebore species to choose from and new Hellebore hybrids are being offered every year; some with double flowers or anemone centers. A Hellebore may also be called a Christmas Rose, Lenten Rose, or Stinking Rose.
Hellebores are ideal woodland perennials. They thrive in the rich soil under trees where there is full to dappled shade. Do not plant in very dry or waterlogged soil and provide protection from winds. Many Hellebores are evergreen, although they can look ragged over the winter. They will grow about ½ meter high and wide. The flowers dangle from the plant so they are best planted on a slope where you can look up to see them.
Hellebores can be divided in early spring (as with most perennials) but they rarely need it. They can be expensive in garden stores (because seedlings take 3-5 years before they bloom) so dividing is a great, inexpensive way of getting new plants. Keep in mind that Hellebores are poisonous so keep them away from children and pets.