Growing season for hellebores?

graywings123January 4, 2011

I planted several very young hellebores in October, and the top growth on all of them is pretty much dead after an unusually cold December. The seller has assured me they will come back in the Spring. It makes sense.

What I can't figure out is why my mature hellebore is not on that same schedule. It flowered beautifully last spring, then started new growth in the late summer. That new growth is doing fine through this cold weather, and I assume it will bloom on schedule.

My question is: what growing schedule will my baby plants be on when they mature? Do different species of hellebores put out new growth at different times? The babies are Helleborus x hybridus 'Sunshine Selections.' The mature one came with the house. Here is a photo of it in bloom:

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gardengal48

Yes, different hellebore species can produce growth at different times. But this is not what you are seeing :-) Your hellebores (according to the photo and your description) are ALL x hybridus -- the difference in growth patterns is most likely due to the age difference and maybe also to planting times.

Helleborus x hybridus will typically start producing new foliar growth in late winter/early spring, around the same time it flowers (just slightly later). Many hellebore gardeners remove the old season foliage just before flowering because a) it looks pretty ratty, b) can harbor fungal diseases, and c) allows the flowers to be seen unobscured. However, the plant can produce new leaf growth at any time - often you will see this happening in fall in response to cooler temps. You will often see some sporadic flowering at this time also. I'd guess the young plants experienced more damage simply because of their tender age AND more tender foliage:-) Who knows - they might even have been greenhouse grown! They'll toughen up after a season or two in the garden.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 9:19AM
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graywings123

Thanks, that's good to hear. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the Spring.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 4:53PM
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