University of Maryland Extension

Lenten rose, Helleborus

Author: 
Text and photo by Ellen Nibali

Helleborus orientalis

Helleborus flowers last for an incredibly long time--late winter to May--with petals in smoky purple, speckled mauve, white, and pastel green. Even in summer, the tough blooms persist, faded but indestructible.  Happily, deer usually snub the foliage and flowers.  The leathery leaves, heavily serrated, emerge bright green in spring, then darken. After winter, allow old foliage to decompose where it collapses around the base of the plant like a mulch or prune it away to prevent disease.Helleborus self-seeds and enlarging clumps can be divided.  Plant in moist shade to part shade, ideally on a slope, so you can look up at the nodding blooms.   

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