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Helleborus orientalis, also known as the Lenten Rose, flowers between Christmas and Easter, depending on the weather.
These perennials are grown for their Winter and Spring flowers. Some Hellebores are evergreen and most of the deciduous species hold onto their old leaves. These should be cut off in early spring, by which time the new flower buds are developing ready to stun us all over again.
Hellebores are easy to grow and are excellent in woodland plantings. They thrive in semi-shade and in moisture-retentive soil. Once smitten by these glorious perennials, one may become addicted. They have become so popular over the years that collectors will travel miles to find that 'special variety' - the one they have not got!
Hellebores are suitable for mixed borders and are excellent for long-lasting cut flowers. If you need 'perfect' white blooms for the table, then you must protect the opening flowers of Helleborus niger with cloches from December onwards.
Plants can be raised from seed, although most Helleborus orientalis varieties do not come true to type and colour. Mature seedlings should flower when thay are two-three years old.