Helleborus care

Updated July 13, 2018

Helleborus are perennials with delicate, roselike flowers that come in shades of white, pink, green and purple. Commonly called hellebores or Lenten rose, these European natives light up the garden for several weeks in late winter and early spring.

Planting Location

Place helleborus in part shade. Since the plants are low-growing and only reach 12 to 18 inches high, the University of Vermont suggests planting them in locations where they can be appreciated, such as in raised beds along walkways or on slopes.

Soil Requirements

Hellebores require moist, well-draining, humus-rich soil. Mulch with a 2-inch layer of leaf mould or chipped or shredded bark each fall.


Keep helleborus well-watered at all times. Irrigate once or twice a week during dry weather.


The Royal Horticultural Society suggests feeding hellebores once in spring. Use an all-purpose fertiliser for in-ground plants and a high-potassium fertiliser, such as tomato food, for container-grown plants.


Ensure that hellebore flowers are seen and enjoyed by removing older leaves that block blooms. Prevent disease by pruning out dead or decayed foliage.


According to Washington State University, even though hellebores were once used for medicinal purposes, all plant parts are poisonous.

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About the Author

Julie Bawden-Davis is an accomplished writer, who specializes in home and garden. Since 1985, she’s written for a wide variety of publications, including “Organic Gardening,” "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Parents," "Family Circle" and "The Los Angeles Times." Her books include "Fairy Gardening" and "Reader's Digest Flower Gardening." Bawden-Davis holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and is a certified master gardener.