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Hellebore interesting facts

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

You may have noticed an interesting phenomenon. Hellebores turning green from pink or white is unique among flowers. Hellebore blossom colour change is fascinating and not perfectly understood, but it certainly makes for more visual interest in the garden. What is Hellebore? Hellebore is a group of several species that produce early-blooming flowers. Some of the common names of the species indicate when they bloom, like Lenten rose, for example. In warmer climates, you’ll get hellebore flowers in December, but colder regions see them bloom in late winter to early spring. These perennials grow in low clumps, with the flowers shooting up above the foliage. They bloom hanging down on the tops of stems. The flowers look a little like roses and come in a range of colours that deepen change as the plant ages: white, pink, green, dark blue, and yellow.

Hellebore Changing Colour Green hellebore plants and flowers are actually in the later stages of their life cycles; they turn green as they age. While most plants start green and turn different colours, these blooms do the opposite, especially in those species with white to pink flowers. Rest assured that your hellebore changing colour is perfectly normal. The first important thing to understand about this process is that what you see turning green are actually sepals, not petals of the flower as on all other plants

The best time for pruning a hellebore plant is late winter or early spring, just as soon as the new growth begins to appear. This new growth should come straight up out of the ground as little stalks. These stalks should still be surrounded by a ring of last year’s big leaves. The old leaves may very well be damaged from the winter’s cold and looking a little rough around the edges. As soon as the new growth appears, these old leaves can be cut away, slicing them right at the base. If your old foliage is undamaged and still looks good, it’s not necessary to prune them right away, but once the new grow starts to leaf out, you’ll want to make way for them by removing the old growth. If you leave the old growth for too long, it’ll become entangled with the new growth and much harder to trim away.

Another good reason to cut off last year’s foliage at the end of the season or early spring is that this prevents hellebore leaf spot disease being carried through on the leaves and infecting the new season flowers. November is the preferred time, but it’s not too late to do early spring; simply cut off the old leaves

Soon after flowering comes the time when it’s important to step in and intervene to maintain the quality of your plants. Hellebores are specifically adapted to cross pollinate, so most of the seeds that fill the fat pods will be derived from two different parent plants; this means that they’re unlikely to be the same as the plant you originally chose and which carries the pods. Often, the seeds drop back into the clump where they may eventually germinate and flower, diluting the impact of the parent plant with inferior seedlings. I always like to cut off all the flower stems before the pods split.

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