Newbie questions

chris_ont(5a Ont)November 10, 2007


I just picked up three Hellebores (H. Niger HGC Josef Lemper, which is supposed to be "alpine") at over 75% off (probably because we've already had snow here! :)

Couldn't resist. I planted them in a sunny spot for now, because that's the only spot I have so late in the season and I figure the ground will take a little longer to freeze there, giving them more time to settle in.

They weren't too rootbound, but some roots did start wrapping around the inside of the pot a bit. (no roots coming out of the holes, though). I read that they don't like their roots disturbed and so I just dug up a hole, watered well and plunked them in, without spreading out the roots as I normally would. The soil is very rich, lots of compost, well drained.

Now I'm wondering if that was the right thing to do. I plan to move them in the Spring to a shadier spot.

Any advice on this?


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Sounds good to me.
I never disturb their roots, if possible, when planting Hellebores. Otherwise, they often will sulk for days, i.e., the foliage and bloom stem, if tall enough, will flop over on the ground.
In your Zone, they will tolerate much more sun, than here in the southeast. In summer, they may wilt during the day, but rebound overnight.
As long as your soil drains well and has a neutral to slightly alkaline pH, they should prosper.
You may need to add a thick layer of mulch around them, after the soil freezes, to prevent frost heave. Keep the mulch a couple of inches away from the foliage/flower stems to prevent disease and insect damage.
They don't require a lot of moisture, but on new plantings, it would be advisable to check them after a week or so to determine if additional water is needed. Insert your index finger 2-3" into the soil near the roots and if the soil is moist, no water is needed.
H. niger bloom buds form at ground level and they begin to open as the peduncle enlongates. Although their common name is Christmas Rose, most seldom bloom until well after New Year's Day.
Enjoy your purchase! :-)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 12:31AM
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chris_ont(5a Ont)

Thanks! This is very helpful.

I must note, though, that traditionally (except for these past few years), we've had snow cover for New Year's Day.
I'm positive this plant'll have to wait for Spring.

Alpine or not, zero degrees (Fahrenheit) is detrimental to bloomage. :) :)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 11:36AM
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