Lenten Rose (Helleborus)

Published On: February 23rd, 2024


Hellebores are a coveted plant for the shaded garden. Their slow growth rate and relative rarity contribute to their comparatively high purchase price, but they are worth every penny!

Season Opener

Hellebores are the garden season-opener, often blooming through the snow in late winter/earliest spring with their lovely cup-shaped flowers in a range of colors. Flowers are extremely long lasting, with each individual bloom remaining on the plant for weeks. Their leathery green foliage is evergreen and deer resistant*. Hellebores are extremely cold-hardy and long-lived, increasing slowly over time to create a loose but tidy 18”-24” mound.

*Helleborus are resistant to deer and rabbit browsing due the fact that all parts of the plant are toxic.


New Flower Colors & Forms

While the older varieties continue to have much garden merit, hybridizers have made great strides in developing new flower colors and forms. The Honeymoon® series features single flowering plants bred for increased flower production, plant vigor, and rich flower colors. The Wedding Party® series showcases double flowered selections in numerous, beautiful color shades. The Frostkiss™ series even sports subtle, very attractive silver foliage variegation.

Lenten Rose in a Nutshell

  • Mature height: 18″-24″
  • Mature spread: 18″-24″
  • Growth form: Open, tidy mound
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3
  • Flowers: Cup-shaped, rose-like flowers in a range of colors, frequently spotted or bicolored with prominent yellow or cream stamens. Older varieties had nodding flowers, but newer varieties tend to hold their flowers more upright.
  • Foliage: Leathery, dark green, palmately divided foliage. Some newer varieties have variegated leaves.
  • Light requirement: Partial to Full Shade
  • Water Requirements: Thrive in humus rich, moisture retentive soil but also drought tolerant.
  • Growth Rate: Slow to Moderate
  • Maintenance: Low maintenance. Previous years’ evergreen foliage should be cut away in spring before new foliage emerges.
  • Especially valuable for:
    • Exceptionally early bloom period
    • Specimen plant for shade garden
    • Deer & rabbit resistant
    • Food source for early season pollinators
    • Long bloom time

By Zannah Crowe