Helleborus foetidus

Helleborus foetidus
Helleborus foetidus 
stinking hellebore
SIZE/TYPE low perennial
USUAL HEIGHT 0.4-0.5m
USUAL WIDTH 0.3-0.4m
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES green
FLOWERS showy
COLOUR OF FLOWERS light green
BLOOMING TIME February - April
LOCATION semi-shade / partial sun
USDA zone (lowest) 5   (down to -29°C)
WINTER PROTECTION  
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Perennials
Evergreen broadleaf
Winter blooms
náhled fotonáhled fotonáhled foto
Hellebore (Lenten rose) is not a new plant in Czech and Slovak gardens. I remember those flowering stems that surprisingly pushed through the snow in late winter and I kept asking grandma how come that a plant can flower while there is still snow on the ground. These evergreen perennials are still very popular, mainly thanks to newly hybridized varieties with fantastic flowers.

Stinking hellebore, stinkwort or even dungwort - these are all very charming names for a beautiful hellebore species which has the only frailty: the flowers or crushed leaves don't really smell that nice. Ok, now that we know it we won't put our noses closer, but we can leave our eyes open to perceive its other assets, can't we?

Most importantly the foliage. The evergreen leaves are so delicate that very few plants can beat them. They are like deeply dissected Japanese maple leaves, with 6-9 narrow strips that are dark green, and turn purple red at the axils from autumn till spring, sometimes also along the margins. Flowers are pushed up from the very centre of the mop of leaves in late winter, and bloom for about two months. Individual flowers are bell-shaped, drooping, light green, sometimes with red margins. They are gathered in abundant cymes atop 30-50 cm tall stems. Some plants may grow up to 80 cm tall but this height is supposed very rare.

Hellebore likes heavy, evenly moist, neutral to alkaline soil in dappled shade or filtered sun. Fertilizing will increase flowering and help the leaves remain strong and nice throughout the winter. We suggest growing it somewhere near your house entrance or close to the window you look out of frequently. This way you can enjoy the plant when it starts flowering because at that time the weather outside is not yet ideal for walking around the garden. The flowers can cheer up a number of grey and dull days of late winter therefore thumbs up for hellebore! Hardy to about -27°C (USDA zone 5). All hellebores (leaves, stems, and roots) are poisonous.

Last update 02-01-2016
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Helleborus foetidus
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GLOSSARY
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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