Very Strange Hellebore !!

geoforce(z7a SE PA)July 20, 2005

I have only a few hellebores in my garden, and am certainly no expert on them, but this seems very strange to me.

I planted an un-bloomed 'royal heritage' plant last summer. It bloomed this spring as a nice, outfacing flower of the typical dark maroon color. I cut off the flower stalk in late june, as it was growing new leaves, and it seemed to settle in for the season. But...

I noticed on Monday that it was sending up a new flower stalk, and the buds, which are already starting to unfurl, on this stalk are a gorgeous very pale pink color. They are totally unlike the spring buds. I have my camera ready when they fully open, and perhaps then I can post pics of both colors, because I could hardly believe the diferences.

Is this likely a freakish seasional thing, or a mutation, or possibly another plant which had come along for the ride in the one I bought? Also, what would make it bloom in this time of year?


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Greenmanplants(UDSA Zone 8)


Young plants quite often throw a flower stem in mid to late summer, often not at all like the true plant, usually (although I have not aggressively tried to hand pollinate) barren in that no seed is set suggesting that the flower is incomplete in more than just colour, I've not recorded when and where but my recollections are of single stems with 1-3 flowers usually quite pale.

I do not know the reasons why any of this happens, but you sometimes also see it after a transplant and I would guess the plants chemistry gets a little thrown.

They've always reverted back to normal afterwards.

Your theory that you have 2 plants together is also possible, but difficult to verify without digging it/them up and pulling them apart..better left until spring to see whether you revert to what you expected.

Cheers Greenmanplants.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 6:05AM
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johandk(z8 Be)

Other people report the same observation ,
Hxhybridus flowering out of their period give paler colors and smaller flowers .
My observation , in my garden , is that less than 10% of my paler colors ( only green and white ) flower out of their season and especially those in pots .
The age is not so important . Some plants have flowers with acceptable shape and color . Can we select them and make crosses for reflowering ?
To my opinion , as I could not find information on reflowering capacity for hellebore , it has to do with stress .
I observe also that repotting ( transplanting etc ) gives always a higher percentage of flowering out of time plants .
Other garden plants do the same ex. Iris


    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 5:15PM
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jgwoodard(USDA z7 TN)

a recent discussion of this topic:

Here is a link that might be useful: hellebore prebloom

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 10:18PM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

Thank you Joseph for posting that link. I read it with great interest. I am surprised that the flowers are mostly described as incomplete, and infertile as in other species I have seen double season bloom in this does not appear to be the case. Perhaps the non staminate flowers could be fertilized with stored pollen, but I see no value in such.

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 8:28AM
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