Is it possible to propagate hellebores from cuttings? I'm wondering if I can take slips from friends' plants and start new plants. Has anyone had success with this and if so, what was your method?
No, it isnÂ´t possible to take cuttings!
You can divide large plants - best in late summer.
But often the plants get ill ( fungus) by this procedure.
Best is to sow seed, just when it is ripe!
Althouth I'd never tried it myself, literature says that it is possible to take cuttings from Hellebore x nigercors and Hellebore Foetidus (Wester Flisk). Best in september.
You would be breaking new ground if you were successful with cuttings.
The accepted widom is that you can split plants, ideally just after flowering, befre the main new growth gets underway. However, this is only recommended for particularly special plants and tends to give various problems, do not let the roots dry out, pay particular attention not to damage the new white roots and do not be tempted to split into small pieces, chunks with 4 or 5 growing eyes each should survive happily and will probably flower the next year, single growing eyes will often take 2-3 years to recover and may die.
Much better to take fresh seed, and you'll have plenty of plants in 2-3 years. There are lots of threads on this forum dealing with sowing and growing....it works, you do get near 100% germination, and 20% of those may flower in 2 years, so beg 100 seed rather than 20 cuttings.
H. x nigercors, is easy to split but I've not had success with very small pieces and would guess that cuttings would be extremely difficult or impossible, we talk here of an "Irish Cutting", that is one with a little bit of root already on it. The litreature will have mentioned nigercors as a vegitatively propagated plant because it is a sterile hybrid and can otherwise only be raised by crossing H.argutifolius onto H.niger and raising the seed.
'Wester Flisk' is a H. foetidus strain with red stems and red lips to the green flowers. It is really easy from seed...flowering in 18 months from sowing and is actually far better sown in situ, rogueing out any with green stems. It doesn't transplant at all well once established, so if you want to move it, do it in its first year. Grow in a very lean soil, in the wild it grows in cliffs and scrubby woods, excellent early flowered plant, December-April with me.
Have fun, Greenmanplants
I agree, unless it is an exact replica of the plant you want, seed is the most efficient method. Even if you could take cuttings (which I doubt), you would likely have to wait as long or longer for blooms and with considerable more effort and risk.
And as Greenmanplants mentioned, divisions can be slow, particularly if small (and quite difficult to impossible in some species). If your friends will give you seed (or better yet, seedlings), you will have growth by mid-late winter.