Which hellebore do you like the best?

gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)August 29, 2004

I don't have any hellebores, but I received an email from Wayside about a 50% off sale that included Orientalis, the Pine Knot Strain, and the Royal Heritage strain. I'd like to get one, but I'm not sure which of the 3 to choose. What do you suggest? Thanks,


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Greenmanplants(UDSA Zone 8)

Cynically, I would say they're selling off the rubbish that didn't get bought this year, so they don't have the hassle of taking it through the winter and run the risk of not selling them again next year.

Trick with Orientalis hybrids or H. hybridus as they now are, is either to see them in flower before you buy or get them from a known parentage crossing. The "strain" comment, usually means open crossed seed from a group of plants. Often this means a spotted muddy pink!

Of course I'm sure that people will correct me, but as I am from the other side of the pond, I don't know either of these strains, they may be very good. If they have been grown from hand pollinated(HP) seed of known parentage then there is a very good chance that it is a good strain that they are trying to keep.....however, if they flowered this year you have to ask why someone didn't buy them already.

We have growers here who do not sell a plant until they have seen it bloom, they are growing from HP seed and are looking for something special. They then grade their plants, top they may keep for themselves for ongoing breeding or sell for $40 or so, second, will sell for $25 or so, third for $15, then the rest gets put in the "Sale".

However if they're cheap and you just want to get started, it's a good way of saving yourself a 3 years from seed situation. They all make good garden plants, and once you've grown them you'll get addicted, so good luck, I'll leave it to others who know these strains to comment on which is best...Have you seen pictures?

Cheers Greenmanplants

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 1:15PM
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Greenmanplants(UDSA Zone 8)

I've had a look at these and done a search on the various sites.

Pine Knot strain appears to follow the better traditions of plant breeding and if the pictures are to be believed have some good stock in them.

I've also noticed the same plants available elsewhere for $5.98 so mabey the wayside sale at $9.95 is not such a bargain.

Dick and Judith Knott Tyler(the husband and wife team running Pine Knot) list Ashwood nursery in the UK as one of their principle sources of breeding material. John Massey, the owner at Ashwoods in turn collected his plants back in the 80s from Elisabeth Strangman, Helen Ballard and Robin White, three of the true breeders of the plants from the original wild collected material. John and his team have since turned hellebore production into a factory style, but only use Hand pollinated seed with carefully selected parents.

So my vote goes for Pine Knot Strain, but have a look around as there seems to be a larger variation in price than the Wayside sale.

Cheers Greenmanplants.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 1:52PM
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It looks to me like you can go to pineknotfarms.com and buy bigger plants for less (4" plants for $7 vs. 3" for $8.42 at Wayside).

    Bookmark   September 16, 2004 at 10:32PM
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plantsnobin(z6 IN)

I got 2 of the Royal Heritage strain last year from Munchkin Nursery, and they bloomed this spring, in a smoky-slatey purply kind of color. 1 of them was exactly the color I had been hoping for. I wouldn't buy anything from Wayside, though. I think Munchkin will be carrying the Pine Knot strain, but I have not grown them so I can't comment on those.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2004 at 10:11PM
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