H foetidus: treatment after flowering? and about transplanting

linaria_gwApril 11, 2010


my H foetidus Wester Flisk flowerd for the first time, planted in autumn 2008. It grew a really thick stem last year, almost 2 feet high which is flowering now. And it sprouts two new shoots close to the ground. It looks good, is healty and I like the look of the seed heads. Should I do anything special to keep it happy? So far I only grew orientale-hybrids. My soil is quite heavy and with lots of moisture so it got far bigger than wild ones on poor soil.

this is (hopefully, 2. attempt with photobucket) a picture of the plant

And I have got another H foetidus, a plain seedling, 3 years old, which I planted in an awkward spot. It grew well last year and has flower buds now. And it is crowding a good H. orientale-hybr behind it. So Im pondering now whether to

move the foetidus,

move the orientale (not sure whether the new spot is not to dry) or

shovel prune the foetidus somewhen later.

If transplanting I thought now, after flowering, would be good, cutting of flower heads. Or do you prefer another time of the year?

I`d appreciate your suggestions, thanks a lot,

cheers, Lin

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ladywindsurfer(Z7 SE)

I wouldn't bother moving a 3 year old H. foetidus, as they are short-lived perennials. It probably only has a few years left to live. You can remove and transplant any of it's seedlings that are crowding your H. x hybridus, but I would wait until fall or early winter.

I have numerous seedlings each year from the species H. foetidus, but a cultivar I once grew, 'Miss Jekyll', produced only a few viable seed the first year it bloomed and the mother plant soon died and the seedlings followed a few years later. None of the offspring ever produced seed.
Since it was only a few feet from a huge complex of species plants, I assumed cross-pollination would help, but no such luck!

As far as special treatment is concerned, my Helleborus receive none, except well drained soil and since I have a red clay soil base, I have amended all of the planting areas to raise the pH above 6.5. Some growers claim that Helleborus will grow in soil with a pH as low as 5.5 and that is true, BUT, they sure as heck don't thrive!

Helleborus also need sunlight or bright reflected light to perform well. I grow 12 species, that encompasses many hundreds of plants and they are located in areas that receive either; morning, noonday and afternoon sunlight or dappled shade. Those in afternoon sun require heavy mulch to keep the roots cool. I remove the mulch during prolonged periods of rainfall, to prevent the soil from becoming soggy, a condition that Helleborus don't tolerate very well.
Last year we received 81 inches of rainfall. 60% above average, twice the amount of the previous year and three times more than in 2007, which was the beginning of two years of exceptional drought, severe outdoor water restrictions, which culminated in a total ban for six consecutive months. And then the seemingly endless rainfall began!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 12:33PM
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loretta5_gw(Z6 PA)

Foetidus does not transplant well. To dig a mature plant up is almost surely to kill it. Concentrate on the seedlings as ladywindsurfer says.

Just a note, I understand Foetidus is a species that doesn't cross with any other Hellebore.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:41AM
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