Helleborus foetidus

Josh(z8a)April 6, 2005

Hi, Have a large cedar planter with a Pieris 'Forest Flame' in it (now grown rather leggy but I love its form and height). Wanted to fill in at its feet with the H. foetidus which I thought would contrast nicely. Also have a tiny-leaved variegated Hedera helix scrambling around. Would the Helleborus do okay? I note it needs somewhat alkaline soil while the Pieris supposedly likes acid soil but to be honest I've never particularly bothered about ph.
Should I in this case?

The location gets sun til eleven, but from posts here that seems okay. I'm a litle worried about the moisture...Pieris gets normal amount (handwatered as needed), but some folks say the H. foetidus is best in dryer soil.

What do y'all think? The Helleborus isn't here yet...When I see the 2 plants together it may not be such an attractive combo but I'm needing input into cultural needs first. I'm not even sure Helleborus will do well in a container...even a large one. Thanks for any help, hints...josh

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

My foetidus does fine in my naturally acidic soil, I don't try to raise the ph like I do for the oriental hybirds (with a stick of blackboard chalk inserted into the soil near the plant) and they are healthy with A LOT of rainfall here. (1 1/2" again just yesterday)

I haven't grown hellebores long term in containers, but do see them blooming size sold in quarts and would guess they would be OK....I'm considering adding one of my seedlings to a large mixed perennial container too. I do wonder about mature size though, my oldest foetidus Sienna in the ground is easily 30 x 30" in its very long bloom period and quite full...do you think that shape and height would be visually appealing with your pieris? - although it could stay smaller containerized

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 6:33PM
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Josh(z8a)

You may be right about not looking well together. Have only photos to go by...never met the fellow myself. Almost all my gardening is in containers now, and most are a combination of things I fall in love with and then have to find a good neighborhood for~~smile. This planter also contains Arum italicum pictum, for instance. I'm more a foliage nut but I'm sure I will love the bloom of the H. foetidus...but they may very well end up inside in an arrangement. This is to be honest why my Pieris is so much more stem than foliage.

Appreciate your comments. If my H. foetidus ever grows to 30x30 no one will even notice the Pieris...yours must be awesome in bloom. Wish me luck...josh

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 8:17AM
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gardengal48

Foetidus is rather easily grown in containers and will not achieve its full, in-the-ground size in one long term. I have Wester Flisk and the goldleaved forms in various containers and they make rather striking compliments to the other plantings. I think foetidus and pieris would look pretty good together but the pieris may need some trimming to keep it in check - I seriously doubt you will need to worry about the foetidus overwhelming the pieris. More likely to be the other way around.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 8:45AM
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Josh(z8a)

Thanks, Pam. My Pieris is heavily pruned as I'm of an age to need plants close up and often inside in a vase to really get full enjoyment. I realized after posting earier about cutting hellebore blooms that this was probably sacrilege to most of you...but I can much more appreciate the texture, shape and every nuance of color best in my armchair due to my fading eyesight and creaky knees.

I do know that the H. foetidus may not reach its optimum growth in a container, but appreciate your noting that. And I do agree that often a plant in a container can look great on its own and sets off others nearby. I've still long lists of things to try~~smile. josh

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 9:49AM
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Josh(z8a)

My H. foetidus arrived and is sort of lanky-stemmed (tall stems, not weak) but very healthy looking and well-rooted. I decided to give it its own container...my Pieris is in full bloom with lots of new red foliage and I don't want to risk disturbing its roots, plus the helleborus will probably do better on its own. I decided they are nice looking together but not in the same container. Will just underplant with Saxifraga sarmentosa as groundcover which I hope will soon be shaded out by exuberant growth! smile. Thanks again for all your advice. josh (yes, in AL..just got around to updating member page)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 2:50PM
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