The weather may not cooperate, but colorful fall foliage helps Texans feel like the fall…
If you need a plant with lovely blooms, striking foliage and evergreen appeal, consider shade-loving hellebores (Helleborus sp.). These perennials make great ‘solution plants’ and offer these and other great benefits for the garden and landscape.
Hellebores have foliage that contrasts nicely with other shade perennials. Some varieties, such as ‘Snow Fever,’ display delicate variegation in subtle hues. Adding to this foliar display is their beautiful show of flowers in winter, when most other plants are dormant. Their bloom season gives rise to the common name ‘Lenten Rose‘, and while some do resemble roses, they’re highly variable. From single to double form, frilled to smoothly rounded, spotted to clear, each variety has something to show off in the shade. Add to this a color range from whites and soft yellows to lavenders, pinks, and nearly black, and you’ve got a standout perennial.
The Lenten Rose also makes a dynamic contribution to shade containers for winter color. Ideal companions are cyclamen, heuchera, and primroses. For larger containers, when combined with small evergreen shrubs and trailing varieties of ivies, hellebores present true winter display drama.
In the landscape, since most hellebores fall into the range of 12-18 inches in height, they are ideal border plants for the front of most gardens. The slight acidity that these plants appreciate make them good bedfellows for other acid-loving shade plants like Japanese maples, heuchera, and camellias. Camellias are an evergreen shrub can also give you blooms during the winter time; the added benefit here is having two plants in bloom to offer pollen and nectar for hungry pollinators at a time when food is scarce.
Growing hellebores is best with deep preparation of the soil bed for good drainage, which is best done by adding good compost, such as acidified cotton burr compost. When planting, be sure to keep the central crown dry and mulch away from the center of the plant, which could induce rot.
Check in now through spring to see all the different varieties we’re offering through the winter!