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should I cut back H. foetidus?

Posted by loxley z8, BC Canada (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 3, 10 at 1:21

I have some lovely and fairly large clumps of hellebore foetidus. Before they bloom this year, do I cut them back? My other hellebores seem to do better when cut back in the late fall before they start to grow again. These are taller and larger..should they be treated the same way?

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RE: should I cut back H. foetidus?

  • Posted by loxley z8, BC Canada (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 3, 10 at 1:31

oops--I think it's H. argutifolius

RE: should I cut back H. foetidus?

Both H. foetidus and H. argutifolius are caulescent or stemmed hellebores - flowers appear on the same stems as the foliage. Generally, these types of hellebores are NOT cut back in'd be cutting off all the flowering potential. Cutting back of these types of hellebores is done after flowering. Old flowering stems are taken as far back as practical on the plant, allowing new growth to emerge that will eventually carry the next season's flowers.

Typically, the only types of hellebores to benefit from having old foliage removed in winter are the acaulescent or stemless forms, like Helleborus x hybridus. This is normally done in late winter just as the flower buds form and begin to emerge from the soil. Too early removal of foliage can impact the plant's ability to photosynthesize properly and may reduce vigor and lower flowering potential.

btw, both H. foetidus and argutifolius would benefit from being sited in more sun than shade, especially in the PNW.

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