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First hellebore for my husband/Want to do it right

Posted by phylrae z5a/centralNYS (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 22, 10 at 18:48

We're in central New York State, the Syracuse area, zone 5a. Get lots of snow usually.
My husband has wanted to grow hellebores for awhile, but we have never tried. We were at Bluestone Perennials in Ohio the other day and purchased one called Double Queen Mix. I hope it is zone hardy!
He planted it in the only shady area of our yard, under a tall burning bush, where we have some dicentra and aquilegia, etc. There is a little sun there, but much less than anywhere else. Especially before spring/summer.
What do I need to know about hellebores to make sure we grown them well? Do they like rich or lean soil? Fertilizer? Do they need to be mulched and pruned?
Thanks! :0) Phyl


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RE: First hellebore for my husband/Want to do it right

Helleborus x hybridus is hardy to about -30F (USDA Zone 4)
Best in Morning or late afternoon sun, dappled shade or bright reflected light.
Well drained, but moist, humusy, rich soil.
Mulch can be used, to retain moisture for the roots, until the plant becomes established (usually about one year). Check periodically for soil moisture in the root zone. Don't allow the soil to become too dry and certainly not soggy. Once established, they are somewhat drought tolerant.

Really isn't necessary to fertilize them, if you have rich soil. I use an annual thin application of compost around the plant, instead.
Helleborus perform best in soil with a pH of 6.5 - 7.2.

Pruning old foliage is a matter of choice. Some remove all of the old growth, when they begin to bloom in the winter, for aesthetics. I only remove any brown and tattered foliage on those plants in areas visible to guests.

Was your plant in bloom when purchased? I haven't had much luck with purchases of unbloomed doubles seedlings. Only about half were doubles and only a fraction were of the advertised/labeled color.


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RE: First hellebore for my husband/Want to do it right

Thanks for the help! No, it wasn't blooming...
Will put down some composted manure today and mulch too.
:0) Phyl


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