salmonlady4April 2, 2009

Good evening.....

My helebores are stunning this year...Why? I have no idea but the mass of blooms are over 2 feet wide for each plant.

BUT.............the exterior circle of stems and leaves are lying on the ground while the blooms are centered and fill up a large place in the center of the original stems and leaves that are now laying on the ground.

WHAT TO DO?.... Once the flowers die back do I cut this mass of flowers back to the ground and hope that the outside circle of stems return to their normal state of straight up and surrounding the depleted bloom circle?

Is there someone out there who can tell me what to do? My plants are still in bloom (even after all this snow and freeze) but like last year I expect them to die back soon. They have been in bloom for over two months now. (Are they petrified?) ...

I remember last year the stems and leave returned to their upright position but I am too old to remember what happens next.......


THank you so very much.................blessings.....salmonlady4

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Are you referring to Lenten Rose/Hybrid/orientalis Hellebores and not the Corsican or other species of Hellebores that bloom on stems with the leaves?

If so, get in there now while you can and cut off all of last years leaves.
This will help get rid of possibly diseased leaves and it will make the blossoms show up nicely.
There will be new leaves coming up soon if not already.

By cutting back now,( or even sooner) you avoid damaging the new emerging leaves.

You can also cut back the flowering stems later after all the color is gone and help rid lots of seed falling and sprouting within the original plant if you don't want seedlings.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 9:53PM
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While most hellebores will retain their foliage through winter, those that produce flowers on separate stems (the term is 'acaulescent') typically have last season's foliage removed at this time, often earlier. There's a number of good reasons for this: the foliage usually looks pretty tattered and ratty by this time, it often will overwinter disease issues and as you have experienced, it is usually flattened by rains, snow or other weather. It seldom will return to an erect position - what you remember is probably the new growth that replaced it. And the flowers show off better if the old foliage is removed :-) Cut 'em off - this season's fresh new foliage should be emerging and will rapidly take old stuff's place.

btw, most hellebore growers remove this old foliage in late winter just as the flower buds are emerging from the soil. This offers the best disease prevention.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 9:53PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You might also want to look inside some of the flowers for slug damage - they get up inside them and eat the anthers out - and take corrective measures.

If you control slugs you may also get numbers of your own seedlings living on to produce some interesting additional shades.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 10:10PM
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