Winter rose is one of the many names given to plants in the increasingly popular hellebores. Their delicate nodding heads in white, pink, purple and red tones are a charming addition to the winter garden.
Even though they’re quite hardy, just like any other plant, hellebores will perform much better if given good care. They’re shade tolerant and can handle dry periods, which makes them ideal for use as ground covers under established trees.
Hellebores grow readily from seed and, if they’re happy, the plants will often spread themselves around the garden. But if you want to try growing numbers of plants from seed, it’s recommended to mix the seeds through some moist peat moss and leave in the freezer for a few weeks before sowing into pots of Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix. This is called stratifying, a process that imitates the cold winter the seeds would experience in their natural habitat. Take care when storing and handling the seeds and flowers – all parts of the plants are poisonous.
Hellebores have very few problems – most can be solved by growing the plants in congenial conditions (which means adequate food and water). The plants aren’t often attacked by snails, but do provide shelter for these pests. Hence, a judicious sprinkle of snail pellets every so often – Yates Blitzem Slug & Snail Pellets – will help.
If the plants start to look untidy, there’s no harm in pruning off the ugly bits. New shoots will soon emerge and open into fresh leaves.
The rose-like flowers of hellebores look charming in mixed posies, but very young blooms are inclined to droop quickly. Pick mature blooms early in the morning, and split the stems vertically. Then plunge into water for a good soak before arranging.