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Argutifolius is a real pain

Posted by geoforce z7a SE PA (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 27, 14 at 10:59

Of all the hundreds of hellebores I grow I am disgusted with argutifolius. I have 2 plants of this species for 9 and 11 years respectively and have bloom on 1 twice and never on the other. Have mulched and not. Have shaded and not. Have erected wind barriers and not. Have done about everything I can think of in fact.

They almost always burn off in the winters here, even the mild ones. Our snow cover is intermittent and it gets very windy so most top growth simply disappears into dry sticks.

One year in fact, this and only this plant was attacked by grape weevils of all things.

Not a single other hellebore plant has given me trouble and they happily continue to fill my beds with thousands of seedlings and multiply into monstrous clumps.

LOL Just venting.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Argutifolius is a real pain

Probably not ideally suited for your climate. They may be root hardy there but PA is hardly Corsica :-) Or Sardinia. They dislike winter wind and probably not all that happy with much of a snow pack. And they tend to bloom quite early - several months earlier than x hybridus in my climate - so flowering could be easily impacted negatively by cold. And I would consider this a full sun plant.

Don't know how many other Mediterranean-type plants you grow in PA, but I would not think that a great climate for those sorts. Especially this past winter!

RE: Argutifolius is a real pain

Did you ever notice if the bloom buds form in the fall and then freeze dry in the spring?
I think some of the hybrids I have share argutifolius genes and the blooms don't look too good this spring, dried up and dead. The plants do fine but some years (especially this one) I don't think I'll see any flowers make it.

RE: Argutifolius is a real pain

I grow it successfully here in zone 4, six years running. I throw a bucket of leaves over the top of the plant and the flower scape (they do set their flowers in the fall), and then put a piece of plastic over that which I weigh down with rocks at the four corners. Takes about 3 minutes per plant. I remove the plastic first, then the leaves a week or so later whenever I guess that spring has arrived. Works like a charm.

RE: Argutifolius is a real pain

this stemmed species is bud hardy to zone 7, but if temps are real low for a long period as with this past winter, the stems become damaged. I lost one but another, covered with snow and leaves MOST of the winter is blooming very nicely. This one does not live as long as the orientalis.

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