Hellebores covered with lesser celendine - what to do?

anyah(7)April 15, 2012

I purchased a couple of Helebore seedlings last year and planted them in the woods where I am waging a war on invasives. I checked on them regularly when the weather turned and they looked very sad with the leaves turning brown. Then they were suddenly covered with a carpet of invasive lesser celandine. Now I see some new hellebore leaves poking up from the celandine. I started trying to pull the celandine out but stopped because I didn't want to hurt the hellebores. I don't see any hellebore flowers but at this point I am just happy they are alive. Please advise whether I should weed or just wait for the celandine to go back underground. Thanks.

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Lesser Celandine is a pernicious weed in my garden and I have the same problem as you. However, my hellebores are big and old and rise above the celandines. I would carefully try to clear the area around the hellebores to give them access to air, rain and light. You can also cut off the old hellebore leaves if they are unsightly - but take care to avoid the new growth. If they haven't flowered yet it is now unlikely for this year. Just make sure they are not crowded out and have enough moisture over the summer and they will be bigger and stronger next year.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 9:23AM
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I can't even tell how many little plants I have - I planted just a few so it's a small patch with eleven hellebore leaves up above the celandine. I have started to carefully remove the celandine but it is slow going as I can't remember what the hellebore roots look like. Thanks for the advice!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 12:50PM
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I quite like the lesser celandine, although I grew the fancy leaved forms (which would often revert to the straight green species). They would often take over my woodland shade area in spring then disappear. They never seemed to overwhelm anything - certainly not my hellebores - and were relatively easy to remove where not wanted. Wish I could say the same for their cousin, the creeping buttercup, Ranunculus repens......now THAT one's the pernicious weed in my garden!!

I get the impression that the hellebores may be relatively new - once they become well-established clumps with some size to them, I doubt you will need to worry about the celandine overwhelming them, just as flora indicates :-)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 1:31PM
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