Growing hellebores

javaandjazz(z6 CT)January 11, 2013

Just read an article this morning about growing hellebores and then also read how toxic they can be. It won't bother you/me just touching it, will it? I'm thinking you have to injust it...right? Thanks, Richie

Here is a link that might be useful: hellebores at White Flower Farm

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They have never created an issue for me from skin contact.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:59AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I believe I read someone posted that they wear gloves whenever there is sap from the hellebore, it bothers their skin. I haven't had that issue.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:20AM
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I have planted multiple hellebore cultivars & though I generally wear gloves when gardening, have otherwise never had any issues with skin irritations when handling them.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:49AM
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I'm not seeing anything about toxicity on the link you provide. And I don't see them on my go to list of common poisonous plants.

I'm only on my second year of hellebores, so have very little experience with the plant. They are deer resistant, so I usually take that to mean they cause indigestion at a minimum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Common Poisonous Plants

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:52AM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

Thanks , I ordered the winter thriller mix from White Flower Farm.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 2:13PM
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Gethsemane Gardens & Nursery in NC might be of interest to some of you. As I discovered on a visit there last year they have an extensive list of hellebores for sale.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:19PM
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molie(z6 CT)

I have a several clumps of hellebores and always get a rash along my arms whenever I work around them or trim them. I suppose wearing long sleeves when I'm weeding would probably help, but I forget. Maybe it's the slightly serrated edges of the leaves that causes this -- don't know. But I love them so much that I can ignore this little inconvenience.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:04PM
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I remember reading that when harvesting hellebores seeds that you need to wear gloves bc it gives you a burning rash. I think it's just the seeds.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 3:49PM
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Yes, there is a thread titled "ouch...ouch...ouch" in the hellebores section that addresses this :)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 3:51PM
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Interesting! Since I only cut back my hellebores in late February (and then only the orientals) I guess I must wear gloves by default - I've never noticed any irritation after this process. I'll have to pay more attention this year.

Wow, Nandina, Gethsemane does look like a good source. The Helleborus x sternii looks really appealing - I love that foliage. Some of the photos on their site may be a bit misleading, though, as they have some shots of 'bouquets' where the flowers appear to be upward-facing but may actually be the opposite on living plants. I guess a call would be in order for those.

When buying unusual hellebores, other than the orientals (x hybridus), niger, or foetidus, it's useful to check that the flower stalks grow from the base of the plant. I have a few types that have wonderful foliage, but it gets very ratty looking just as the flowers open, and there's no way to remove the foliage without removing the flowers. I think those may be the ones that have h. corsican in their heritage, but I'm not positive.

Today I noticed that many of the crowns in the bigger patches of hellebores were loaded up with wet maple leaves, so I guess this year's maintenance will have to happen soon. I do get some fungal problems on some of the bigger plants, especially the h foetidus. Actually a black mold of some kind pretty much wiped out a big stand of those a few years ago - they came back from seed but nowadays I try to pay attention to the cleanup in those beds.

Mahoney's has some nice ones on sale now, but I've bought big flats mail order for very short money in the past. Once you have them, you do get seedlings, which is nice.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:18PM
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