Roses blooming in winter: how to successfully use hellebore in landscape design

Roses blooming in winter: how to successfully use hellebore in landscape design

Affectionate sunbeams were jumping merrily on the sparkling snow, looking with interest a small bright flower making its way through the whiteness of the cover. Oh, it's a snowy rose in bloom! - the mischievous rays of light whispered joyfully, observing how the bud-flashlight, shamefacedly bent under the weight of snowflakes, reveals its pale purple petals.

It is not for nothing that the hellebore was called that, because this amazing flower comes to life in winter, when other plants that have fallen asleep under the snow are waiting for their spring awakening. Some varieties of winter roses begin to bloom in February-March, and in some regions, the hellebore opens its buds right in time for the Christmas holidays.

Recently, the winter house has been increasingly used in landscape gardening, and this is understandable. An early flowering plant is unpretentious, not afraid of frost, drought-resistant, loves shaded areas, is not demanding on the soil and is ready to grow for several years in the same place without transplanting.

Eastern hellebore is more often used in landscape design, since it differs in later flowering, in contrast to other types of wintering grounds. Shades of inflorescence petals are very beautiful and varied - a whole kaleidoscope of colors:

  • white,
  • cream,
  • light pink,
  • pale yellow
  • pale green
  • rich burgundy,
  • bluish black
  • dark purple.

The Christmas rose looks great in alpine slides and rockeries against the background of the dark crown of evergreen shrubs.

Hellebore is also friends with conifers.

Tall varieties of hellebore will create bright accents as tapeworms.

It is permissible to use a snow rose in mixborders, borders and ridges, but not where children play or pets walk. The leaves, stem and root of the plant contain poison.

An unpretentious flower will look good in the shade of tall trees, which will absorb excess moisture from the soil, which is undesirable for Helleborus.

The spreading emerald leaves of the hellebore, located right next to the ground, blend harmoniously with other plants that bloom in summer. It can be planted in flower containers that are easy to carry from place to place. But it is still not recommended to keep this flower in the house.

In addition to the fact that the plant is highly decorative, it is also medicinal. For example, helléborus caucasicus - Caucasian hellebore - is called the second ginseng due to its unique properties. Unfortunately, gelleborus root extract and powder have a number of contraindications and can cause great harm to health if dosages are not followed. Official medicine does not recognize this plant as a medicinal plant and does not recommend it for use for the treatment of ailments or weight loss. At the same time, supporters of folk medicine are enthusiastic about the results of using the drug.

The hellebore is poisonous, however, like all flowers of the buttercup family, so whether to use it or not, the decision is yours. But if you follow the rules of planting and caring for a plant, then a beautiful winter rose will delight you with bright colors on white snow.

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Hellebore. Growing and care

The hellebore is planted in spring (April) or autumn (September)

Hellebore - herbaceous perennial Buttercup family... The homeland of the hellebore is Europe, in particular the Mediterranean, is also common in Asia Minor. There is even a legend associated with this flower, which makes the hellebore the main and traditional Christmas present in Germany.

The plant is not tall: it reaches only fifty centimeters in height, but more often it grows no more than thirty. The hellebore has a thick but short rhizome, which is shallow in the soil. The stem branches weakly. Leathery leaves are located in the lower part of the plant on long petioles. Flowers are cupped, located on the tops of flowering stems.

Hellebore Caucasian

Many gardeners perceive sepals as the petals of a flower, not knowing that there is no flower as such, because a flower is a nectary. The hellebore blooms in white, pink, inky, purple and yellow flowers, but there are also two-color flowers. The flower itself can be double and simple.

The hellebore tolerates severe cold and drought well. Usually begins to bloom very early (February-March) or very late (October-November), the flowering time depends on the species and variety.

A gardener working with a hellebore must be very careful, since this flower, like all of the buttercup family, is very poisonous.

Hellebore: planting and care. When and where should you plant a hellebore?

The hellebore is planted in spring (April) or autumn (September). It grows in one place for 10 years, it does not tolerate a transplant, therefore, it is necessary to approach the issue of choosing a place for its planting seriously. The hellebore feels very well in light partial shade, for example, among bushes or at the foot of trees. The soil he needs is loamy, loose, with a neutral pH reaction. Group looks very nice planting hellebore, a kind of curtains.

How to plant a hellebore?

The hellebore is planted in pits measuring 30x30 and 30 centimeters deep... If you plan to plant several hellebores together, then the distance between them should also be 30 centimeters. The hellebore is planted carefully so as not to damage the rhizome. After planting, it is watered abundantly. Also, so that the hellebore quickly begins and does not get sick, after planting for three weeks, it is abundantly and often watered.

Hellebore care

A hellebore is a flower that does not require special attention to itself. Before flowering, all old leaves should be removed to prevent fungal stains from infecting young leaves and flowers. In summer, during extreme heat, the hellebore must be watered. In order for this flower to develop well and delight you for many, many years, you should regularly loosen the ground around it, remove weeds, and also feed it twice a season with bone meal and complex mineral fertilizer.

How to propagate hellebore?

Hellebore of extraordinary beauty

The hellebore can be propagated in two ways: by seeds and by dividing the bush..

The first is very popular, in addition, some types of hellebore (for example, the stinking hellebore) can only be propagated by seeds. The seeds are planted on seedlings to a depth of 1.5 centimeters immediately after they ripen (usually in June). Seedlings appear for a long time, usually only in March of the next year. After two pairs of leaves have appeared on the plants, they are planted in a flowerbed in partial shade and grown for three years. After, they are planted in a permanent place. True, a hellebore grown from seeds will bloom only for a tritium year after planting in a permanent place (that is, in the sixth year after sowing the seeds).

Dividing a bush is much easier. In the spring (for the black hellebore) or in the fall (for the eastern hellebore), after flowering, the bushes are dug up and the rhizome is divided into several parts. Slices must be treated with charcoal. The resulting parts are planted in pre-prepared planting pits. And this method has its drawback: in order to obtain several plants by dividing the root without harming it, plants that are at least five years old are suitable.

Diseases and pests of hellebore

Hellebore black

The hellebore has a lot of pests: slugs, snails, aphids, caterpillars and mice., however, you can protect your plant from all of them or save it if they have already attacked it.

Anthracnose, powdery mildew and ring spot - diseases that are very dangerous for the hellebore. They can be prevented by treatment with special means, as well as by fighting insect pests (if they appear on the hellebore), because some of them are carriers of diseases. If it did not work to prevent it and the hellebore fell ill, it can still be saved, because now there is a huge selection of drugs.

The hellebore is very rarely affected by disease and becomes a target for insect pests. This happens only with a weakened hellebore, that is, with one that is stressed from a violation of the conditions for its cultivation or care. For example, a hellebore planted in an area with acidic soil is one hundred percent likely to be affected by some kind of disease.

What to do with hellebore after blooming?

The hellebore in landscape design

If you decide to propagate it with seeds, then it's time to collect them. However, the seeds are not harvested immediately after flowering, but in June, allowing them to ripen. For collecting hellebore seeds there is a simple device. The fact is that the seeds ripen unevenly, and the ripening process can last until August.

It is very easy to miss the moment of full ripening of seeds, because immediately after ripening, the capsules burst and the seeds wake up. To avoid this, you need to put gauze bags on the unripe boxes, into which the seeds will pour out immediately after ripening.

If the hellebore is still young, then sprinkle it with dry foliage in autumn, or better with spruce branches (spruce branches will protect the hellebore from rodents) - this will prevent the plant from freezing.

Hellebore species

  • Caucasian hellebore. This species is common in the Caucasus, Greece and Turkey. It blooms in white or yellow-green flowers. The diameter of the flower is 8 centimeters. This type of hellebore is the most poisonous!
  • Eastern hellebore - the plant is evergreen, reaches a height of 30 centimeters. It blooms with purple flowers.
  • Smelly hellebore - a flower that is valued for the lush inflorescence of green bells. It got its name because of its peculiarity.
  • Hybrid hellebore - a species that unites hellebores, which were obtained by hybridization (crossing) of different species with each other. In hybrid hellebores, flowers have a different color.

Unusual color. Stinking hellebore

In addition to the listed types, there are such types as: black, Abkhazian, Corsican, reddish, bushy, fragrant, divided, Tibetan, green and Stern. This means that every gardener can choose a hellebore based on their preferences and the general concept of the garden.

A hellebore is a plant that will perfectly fit into almost any garden and decorate it. In addition, the hellebore will delight its owner for very many years without requiring any special care. But, growing this plant in your area, you need to remember that hellebore is extremely poisonous. It is the hellebore that ranks first among all other plants in terms of the content of poisons that affect our heart and can cause it to stop completely.


The hellebore is propagated by both sowing seeds and dividing old bushes. General recommendations are as follows: seeds should be sown on seedlings immediately after they are harvested (they do not retain germination well), in loose, moist humus soil, embedding them to a depth of about 1.5 cm.Seedlings of Gelleborus will appear in March next year, and seedlings will bloom for only 3 years later.

Hellebore bush

Slightly grown seedlings, which have already managed to acquire a couple of real leaves, we dive into a semi-shaded place (for example, I dive into a flower bed under a large spreading apple tree, the crown of which is not very thickened). A grown hellebore can be planted in a permanent place only after 2-3 years, it is advisable to transplant in September.

If you want to propagate the hellebore by dividing the bushes (and this is how it reproduces very simply), in the spring, as soon as it fades, just divide its root into several parts and plant it in pre-prepared holes.

Spectacular bloom

I have already given you general recommendations for the propagation of hellebore, now I will tell you a little about the intricacies of reproduction of its various varieties:

  • hellebore black (or Christmas rose) propagates best by dividing the bushes in spring
  • smelly hellebore it reproduces very easily by self-seeding and, unlike the black hellebore, absolutely does not tolerate the division of rhizomes
  • hellebore oriental easiest to propagate by dividing the rhizomes in early autumn.

The hellebore is very responsive to fertilization, and will thank you for your care with a lush, beautiful flowering. I feed the hellebore with bone meal, adding it in small handfuls about every 3 months.

Delicate flowers

After flowering, I mulch the soil around the plant with compost, this helps to retain moisture in the soil and serves as an excellent fertilizer.

Hellebore (Helleborus) - species, varieties, cultivation. Photo


He does not care about snow or slush, he is not afraid of snowstorms and blizzards, and even if frost hits, he will endure it staunchly. Thanks to the tough leaves that hibernate under the snow, and the flowers that appear at “non-standard” times, the hellebore has gained fame as an unpretentious plant. Delicate, as if carved from marble, with many stamens with golden anthers, hellebore flowers will decorate any flower bed or corner of the garden.

Although the hellebore is native to the Mediterranean region, it is perfectly adapted to growing in Eastern Europe and feels as comfortable here as it does in its native Balkans. Due to the abnormally early flowering, various mystical properties were attributed to the hellebore, for example, with this plant, a belief is associated with protection from evil forces, black magic and hostile spirits. According to other legends, the hellebore, on the contrary, could summon a demon into our world.


The hellebore (Helleborus) belongs to the family Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) of the order Buttercup, class of Dicotyledonous plants. All members of the family are very ancient - they were among the first flowering plants on earth that have survived to our time.

Among the people, the hellebore is also called the winter house or frostbite. The translation of the Latin name - Helleborus is becoming more and more popular, this is due to the fact that the Latin name of hellebore is written on packages with plant material.

The western names of the flower "Christmas rose" and "rose of Lent" are associated with the winter bloom of hellebore, but not with a rose. In this case, the folk tradition of calling beautiful flowers "rose" played a role, regardless of their real systematics. In addition, in Germany, it is customary to give a flowerpot with hellebore at Christmas. According to a German legend, this flower appeared from the tears of a poor shepherd who fell to the ground, saddened by the fact that he did not have the opportunity to give a gift to the born Christ.

In nature, there are 14 species of hellebore, according to other sources, their number is about 20. The spread in numbers is due to the fact that some variations of hellebore are isolated into separate species. All types and varieties of hellebore are poisonous plants containing alkaloids of cardiological action.

In the photo: black hellebore, Botanical Garden of Moscow State University "Apothecary Garden"


The life form of hellebore is a perennial herbaceous evergreen plant. Dark green leathery leaves on long stalks are collected in a basal rosette. The leaf blade is finger-dissected.

The height of the hellebore is 30 - 100 cm, depending on the variety and variety.

Flowers on long peduncles, collected in racemose inflorescences. Flowers are bisexual, actinomorphic (with radial symmetry), with a double perianth. Sepals are large, non-falling, painted in various colors from snow-white to purple, depending on the species and variety. These large sepals are usually mistaken for petals - they have taken on the function of attracting pollinating insects. The real petals of the hellebore are small, modified into nectaries. The size of the "flower" in some varieties is 8 - 10 cm in diameter.

The hellebore blooms in early spring, and in regions with a milder climate, for example, in Western Europe, at the end of winter. It has many stamens, and they are arranged in a spiral, which serves as further evidence of the long-standing origin of the hellebore. Hybrids with spotted flowers and terry “corolla” were bred.

An interesting feature of hellebore flowers is the color change depending on the duration of flowering. The plastids located in the sepals over time from leukoplasts and chromoplasts turn into chloroplasts containing a green pigment. This happens after the pollination of the flower, when the attraction of insects is not required. The green sepals begin to perform the functions of the green parts of the plant, that is, to synthesize organic substances.


All types of hellebore are beautiful during the flowering period, but as ornamental plants they mainly use black hellebore, m. Caucasian, m. Oriental and m. Smelly.

When using Gelleborus in herbal compositions, you need to remember that he does not like frequent transplants from place to place. Therefore, you need to immediately select a place where the hellebore will grow for several years. Thanks to the shiny dark green leaves, hellebores are decorative all year round, and not only during the flowering period.

These plants use:
• as an element in compositions with decorative flowering and decorative deciduous perennials (badan, saxifrage, lumbago)
• as a ground cover evergreen
• a plant for planting in places with a limited amount of sunlight (partial shade and shade), including under the crowns of shrubs and trees, where most perennials cannot grow
• in a group with spring bulb ephemeroids (snowdrops, streams, hyacinths, daffodils, primroses)
• in rock gardens and rockeries, including in a group with evergreen deciduous plants - heather, erica, cranberries and others
• as a container plant to decorate patios, terraces, paths.

In addition, hellebores grow
• for forcing in winter
• cut into bouquets.

In the photo: purple hellebore (red, blushing), Botanical Garden of Moscow State University "Apothecary Garden"

Some believe that all Helleboruses are extremely hardy plants that do not need shelter in winter. This is an erroneous point of view: some species have frost resistance at the level of 6 - 7 zones, for example, in the blackening hellebore, which is popular in gardening.

But the eastern hellebore feels great, not needing shelter in 4 - 5 zones. Therefore, whether to shelter the hellebore for the winter can only be answered by knowing its appearance and the climate of the local region.

Hellebores grow well in various lighting conditions, but light partial shade or scattered sunlight is best for them - the conditions in which plants live in nature. But in general, Helioborus can be attributed to universal plants, because it covers the entire range of sunlight acceptable for plants, and can grow both in the sun and in deep shade.

Different types of hellebores react differently to excess sunlight - in some, the foliage loses its beautiful bright color, fading in the sun.

Sometimes there is no correspondence between the written articles and the actual cultivation of hellebore. That is, the gardener notices that the flower feels great under the scorching sunlight, which does not harm the hellebore. This is due to the large number of new hybrids and varieties created by breeders in the past few decades. They have different requirements for growing conditions.

As with lighting, hellebores are not picky about soil. They can grow both on neutral substrates and on soils with a weak alkaline environment. Hellebores do not like acidic substrates both in nature and in culture, but they can still grow on slightly acidic soil.

To avoid the death of the plant and create comfortable conditions for the hellebore, before planting, you need to find out the pH of the soil on the site. If the substrate has an acidic environment, then it is made alkaline, making it neutral or alkaline. For this purpose, the easiest way is to use chalk mixed with soil in a 1: 1 ratio. After the chalk has been mixed with earth, it is poured into a prepared hole, watered with water and left for a couple of days. Then compost is added to the pit, mixed again, spilled and left for another week. It is necessary to ensure that the earthy mass remains homogeneous and crumbly.

The soil for planting should be rich in nutrients, so it is advisable to add organic fertilizing (compost, humus) to it.

Humidity and watering

Although hellebores love a moist substrate, they can tolerate dry periods: mature plants have a powerful developed rhizome, in which there is a supply of liquid. But it is better not to leave young plants, seedlings, separated plant parts or transplanted hellebores without additional watering in the absence of rain.

The hellebore is usually fertilized in the spring - during this period, organic fertilizers dissolved in water are applied. In summer and late autumn, the hellebore can be "fed" with complex mineral fertilizers of prolonged action - that is, solid fertilizers that slowly dissolve, giving the plant the necessary components.

Diseases and pests

In the open field, the hellebore rarely suffers from pests and diseases. These can be aphids, slugs and snails, mice, caterpillars of the hop fineworm. Among the diseases, fungal origin prevails, arising from high humidity. In case of problems, standard methods of control are used and prevention is observed.


For gardeners, the best way to propagate a hellebore is to divide the overgrown plant - that is, vegetative propagation. Having dug up the hellebore, cut the delenki so that each has roots and at least one bud. The optimal timing for dividing the bush is autumn and the calendar beginning of spring (preferable).

If you are growing a species plant (not a hybrid), you can grow a hellebore from your own seeds. Hybrid seeds must be purchased.

In the photo: Eastern hellebore, Botanical Garden of Moscow State University "Apothecary Garden"

Growing a hellebore from seeds

Sowing in the ground

To avoid cracking, unripe seeds are collected with gloves so as not to burn the plant sap. They are ripened in room conditions. Direct sowing into the ground is carried out in autumn with fresh seeds or in spring after stratification of seeds. Seed germination occurs in a year, and flowering - in four years.

To get seedlings, seeds are sown in a mixture of peat and sand. Peat will prevent the formation of mold in the soil, and the sand will make the substrate breathable, it should make up a quarter of the soil mixture. If using a different potting mix, be sure to spill it with a fungicide to prevent fungal infection.

Planting containers contain three months at a temperature of + 20 degrees or slightly higher. The next month or three - in the refrigerator with a positive temperature from 2 to 4 degrees until the seeds germinate. The soil should always be moist. After germination, the container is moved to a light windowsill without the scorching sun.

When a pair of true leaves is formed in the sprouts, they are transplanted in separate pots or on a growing bed in partial shade, leaving 15-20 centimeters between the plants. They are looked after: watered, loosened, weeded, if the soil was poorly fertilized, they are fed with a dissolved mineral complex. In late summer or early autumn, grown seedlings are planted in a permanent place at a distance of 20-40 cm, depending on the species and variety.

The hellebore can be made to bloom in winter. After digging the rhizomes in the fall, plant them in containers filled with fertile soil and place them in a cool room in the light. Do not let the soil dry out. From December to March, light up the hellebore, and it will delight you with a long flowering, revealing its flowers one by one. In the spring, return it to an open-air garden in a shady place.


There is a lot of confusion with hellebore species because plants have many variations, natural varieties and interspecific hybrids. For example, green hellebore, isolated as a separate species, is called by some a subspecies of black hellebore. Another example is hellebore blushing (purple), classified as a species, a number of researchers call a variety of hellebore green. And the Caucasian hellebore (H. caucasicus), often mentioned in the Russian-language literature, is not distinguished as a species in the international classification.

Black hellebore (Helleborus niger)- a type species of the genus, described by Karl Linnaeus, widely known and used as a medicinal plant. The area of ​​the plant is Alpine forests, but now the black hellebore grows much wider than its original natural range, including it introduced in North America. This species got its name because of the color of the rhizome.

Blossoming of black hellebore depends on the region: in Central and Western Europe, it blooms from January, in southern Europe, the plant blooms in November-December. On the territory of Eastern Europe, hellebore bloom begins in late February-early March, and in some areas even at the end of March-April.

This species is characterized by good frost resistance and large, usually single, flowers. The most popular variety - "Potters Wheel" - has large white, almost drooping, flowers, the diameter of which can reach 10 - 12 cm.

Smelly hellebore (H. foetidus) and M. fragrant (H. odorus) have a number of similar morphological features: the height of the shrub is 50 - 60 cm, in the inflorescence there are 2 - 4 flowers, the diameter of which does not exceed 7 cm. The shade of the perianth is light green or yellow-green. The species are easy to distinguish during the flowering period: the first, as the name implies, has an unpleasant smell for people, and the second, on the contrary, has a delicate aroma. These features are associated with various pollinating insects. The stinking hellebore attracts mainly flies, and the fragrant hellebore attracts bees.

Balkan view decorated hellebore (H. torquatus) became the basis for a whole line of terry "Party Dress" or "Party Dress". These hybrids fully live up to their name: catchy, with a double perianth, sepals in which are usually several shades, they are created to create a good mood. For example, the flowers of the "Party Dress" variety "Belya Owl" have a light green shade that smoothly changes to white, and then turns into pink.

Winter hardiness of this species and its combs from zone 5 and above, in some areas, in winters with little snow, the plant may need shelter.

Eastern hellebore (H. orienalis) - one of the most popular and beloved species by gardeners, on the basis of which many varieties have been created that differ in a large color variety - from white to almost black, including hybrids with a speckled perianth and a rare bluish-lilac shade:
• "White Swan" ("White Swan") - a variety with large snow-white flowers
• "Valerie's Spring Promise" ("Valerie's Spring Promise") is a large bush with powerful stems on which green flowers with a contrasting purple edge develop
• "Rock and Roll" - a variety with several rows of sepals, due to which the flowers look like terry, decorative sepals are given by small dots on their surface
• "Blue Anemone" ("Blue Anemone") - a variety with lilac-lilac or lilac-blue petals.

In Germany, breeders received varieties of oriental hellebore with a wide range of colors, which were united by the common name Lady. For example, a cultivar whose sepals have a cherry tint was named Lady in Red, and a hellebore with dark blue-violet petals was named Lady Metallic.

All varieties of this species have good winter hardiness (zones 4 - 5 and higher).

Among the new varieties should be highlighted: 1 - "Double Pink" (white terry with pink edging), 2 - "Double Red" (terry cherry with a purple hue), 3 - "Double Helen Parple" (terry dark purple, almost black) , 4 - "Double Ellen Pikoti" (white terry with bright pink streaks), 5 - "Double Ellen Green" (light green color), 6 - "Double Ellen Pink" (soft pink), 7 - "Double Ellen Yellow" ( lemon), 8 - "Double Ellen White" (white). The word "double" in the names is used for varieties of hellebore with a double perianth.

The variety "Pretty Ellen Spotted" (9) has white flowers with a slight greenish bloom and lilac-violet blotches, up to 50 cm high, suitable for bouquets. And "Preti Ellen Pink" (10) no higher than 20 cm, pink flowers.

Yellow with a greenish tinge, semi-double flowers at Golden Discovery. They can be 10 cm in diameter, the plant itself is no higher than 30 cm. The same large flowers in the Winter Emotions Triple Pink variety, they are delicate pink, and their total height is about half a meter.

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