Hellebores are hardy and relatively easy to grow in Northeastern Wisconsin. They are especially valuable for adding interest to the spring garden. They are one of the few perennials that remain evergreen throughout our harsh winters. In a very severe winter the foliage may look scorched and tattered by early spring. Removal of some of the older leaves may be necessary to keep these plants looking at their best for the spring flowering season. The bloom season is extremely early and often culminates in early April and continues well into May.
Proper placement and soil preparation are necessary to keep hellebores thriving in your garden over the long term. Choose a location that receives at least a half day of shade. Afternoon shade would be the most beneficial. Full shade or filtered sun conditions are also acceptable. Hellebores respond well when planted in rich, humusy, and moist but well drained soil. They are somewhat drought tolerant once well established but will not reach their full potential in drier conditions.
These plants are fairly rabbit and deer resistant but can be damaged by deer during a severe winter as the evergreen foliage makes it an attractive food source during that season. The plants have a low profile (under one foot) and are therefore often times protected during the winter by our normal snow cover.
Our favorite cultivar sold and grown here at Rose Hill Gardens is a newer introduction called ‘Ivory Prince’ It has especially attractive leathery, dark green mottled foliage with prominent veining. The flowers are creamy white and are held above the foliage and are outfacing which make them more visible. We have a limited supply of these plants in 6” pots available for sale beginning April 28th. Feel free to call and reserve one prior to that date.