How to Grow and Care for Hellebore (Winter Roses)

Hellebore is a beautiful and playful flower that livens up your homes, gardens, and vases. This hardy plant grows well in the shade, moist soils, and blooms during the winter and early spring. The flowers range from rose, purple, pink to light green and remain evergreen year-round. Hellebore requires little care but must be adequately cared for when planted in your garden. We will highlight some common varieties and how to grow and care for this magical plant at home.

Hellebore Varieties

There are different varieties of hellebore flowers with different features. Here are the popular types;

Helleborus Orientalis (Lenten rose)

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Helleborus orientalis is the best variety to use as an ornamental plant in your garden. You can grow them as ground covers or climbers as they can climb up onto other plants as well. This variety produces pinkish-white showy flowers with leaves that have a leathery texture. The flowers have a pleasant fragrance that attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Helleborus Foetidus

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Helleborus foetidus is a low-growing perennial with dark green leaves and small yellow flowers. It grows to about six inches high; you can plant it as a ground cover. It prefers to grow in well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. This hellebore will thrive in full or partial sun as long as the soil remains moist.

Hellebore ‘Stained Glass’

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This is a doubled hellebore variety with flowers that have deep purple-rose veins. The blooms transition from one season to another, changing from deep purple-rose to blush. The dark purplish rose color moves towards the edges as this plant ages. This variety thrives in partial to full sun. It can grow to about 18 inches tall and spread to about 24 inches wide.

Helleborus ‘Snowbells’

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The snowbells variety is a hybrid from the Helleborus orientalis. It’s one of the quickest hellebores to bloom semi-double flowers, and the blooming period can go beyond six weeks. This species flourishes outward-facing crisp white flowers that measure about 3 inches across and 12 inches tall. You can choose to plant this variety in containers, as border plants, or in masses to enjoy their spectacular displays. 

Helleborus ‘Painted Doubles’

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This variety produces white cup-shaped flowers neatly stained with a reddish center. The flowers bloom between late winter and early spring. The Helleborus ‘painted doubles’ make a lovely ground cover when grown in masses. Alternatively, you can plant in shady borders, containers, or under trees. At maturity, this flowering plant can grow to about 16 inches tall and spread to about 24 inches wide.

Hellebore Care and Maintenance  

Generally, Hellebore plants don’t require much care, here are easy caring tips; 

  • Watch out for diseased or damaged foliage and remove them in autumn.
  • After blooming, get rid of the old flower stems and aging leaves to promote new growth.
  • The oriental hybrids self-seed; you can control their seedlings’ population by removing their seed pots before opening.
  • Pruning may be essential to prevent hellebore leaf spot disease.

Propagating Hellebores

You can propagate hellebore plants from seeds or by divisions. If you allow the hellebores to self-seed, transplant the seedlings early spring. Transplanted seedlings may take 2-4 years to flower. Plants propagated by divisions will mature and bloom faster than those propagated from seeds.

Hellebores Growing Conditions   


Hellebores need frequent watering throughout their first growing season. Once they mature and are bloom, reserve watering for dry spells.


Hellebore plants thrive in moist but well-draining soil. Additionally, the soil should be alkaline and rich in organic matter.


Hellebores love shady conditions. When planting them outdoors, choose a shadier spot for them.

Hellebores Pests and Diseases

Aphids are likely to show up on hellebores. They suck the sap leaving the plant to wither. Try organic solutions before going for chemical pesticides. Fungal infections leading to leaf spots and downy mildew are also common. Apply domestic fungal infection controls or get chemical fungicide if the infections are severe.  


Hellebores come in so many varieties; which one is your favorite? Identify your favorite hellebore flower and introduce it to your garden today. Subscribe to our blog for more gardening tips!

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