This species has by far the most interesting and attractive foliage of the genus and goes by the common name Bear's Foot Hellebore. The leathery, dark green leaves are evergreen except in severe winters and are divided into 7–10, serrated fingers arranged in the shape of a fan. They offer a compelling contrast with Hostas and Ferns. The clusters of 1″ bell-shaped blooms, which appear on 18–24″ stems, are pale green with a maroon rim. They're not in a league with the flowers of Delphiniums or Clematis, but we're grateful for color of any kind so early in spring. For the serious shade gardener, this plant is a must. It will self sow and, like other Hellebores, is deer resistant.
For information on the growing and care of Hellebores, click Growing Guide.
HOW PLANTS ARE SHIPPED
The size of the plants we ship has been selected to reduce the shock of transplanting. For some, this means a large, bareroot crown. Others cannot travel bareroot or transplant best if grown in containers. We ship these perennials and annuals in 1 pint pots, except as noted. We must point out that many perennials will not bloom the first year after planting, but will the following year, amply rewarding your patience. We ship bulbs as dormant, bare bulbs, sometimes with some wood shavings or moss. Shrubs, Roses, vines, and other woody plants may be shipped bareroot or in pots. The size of the pot is noted in the quick facts for each item.
WHEN WE SHIP
We ship our bulbs and plants at the right time for planting in your area, except as noted, with orders dispatched on a first-come, first-served basis by climate zone. Estimated dates for shipping are indicated in the Shipping Details box for each item. Please refer to the Shipping Details box to determine the earliest shipping time. Unless you specify otherwise, fertilizers, tools, and other non-plant items are shipped with your plants or bulbs. Please supply a street address for delivery. Kindly contact us with two weeks notice, if you'll be away at expected time of delivery.
We guarantee to ship plants that are in prime condition for growing. If your order is damaged or fails to meet your expectations, we will cheerfully replace or refund it. Please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-503-9624 or email us at [email protected]. Please include your order number or customer number when contacting us.
Average Customer Rating: (4 Reviews) Write a Review
Ingrid from New York
The only care I have to give this plant is to trim the flower stalk each year, as the foliage never seems to die back (in zone 6) or need to be cleaned up! I have had it in my shade garden for 4 years and it has been bushy and pretty since year 1. Not showy but I can count on it!
Mary from Northwestern Illinois
Planted this in the summer 2012, which was a very dry year. Plant just died that same year. White Flower CS thought I had just overwatered it. I probably did. Three stars indicate my ambivalence: rating could have been lower or higher. Plant appeared to be healthy when I received it.
These evergreen plants bring an architectural quality to the shady garden. Most bloom in early winter in mild climates and in late winter or very early spring where the ground freezes hard. Resistant to both deer and voles, they are long-lived and provide exquisite blooms at a time when flowers are a scarce delight.
Light/Watering: Drought-tolerant once established, Hellebores are at their best in evenly moist soil in partial shade. Water well during extended dry periods.
Fertilizer/Soil and pH: Hellebores grow best in moist but well-drained soil enriched with copious amounts of organic matter. The hybrids known as Helleborus x hybridus (previously called Helleborus orientalis) prefer a soil pH close to neutral and even alkaline; add lime if your soil is extremely acid. The Christmas Rose (H. niger) may be slow to become established; to help it along, try a dose of magnesium in the form of Epsom salts or dolomitic limestone sprinkled around the plants. Plants will benefit from a light application of granular, balanced fertilizer in early spring.
Pests/Diseases: Watch for slug or snail damage, and control with baits or diatomaceous earth.
Companions: Hellebores are lovely with other denizens of light shade such as Ferns, Tiarella, Campanula, Alchemilla, Hosta, Phlox divaricata, and Pulmonaria, and truly enliven woodland gardens. The larger, more exuberantly colored varieties or double forms are a great addition to the shady border.
Pruning: Although evergreen, the foliage often looks tattered in early spring. Prune back dead and disfigured foliage before new growth appears. Remove old flower stems when they decline, cutting back to basal foliage, but take care not to remove the stems of Bear’s-foot Hellebore (H. foetidus), because they carry the flower buds formed in the previous growing season. If seedlings are not desired, remove old flowers before seed is set.
Dividing/Transplanting: Although plants may be slow to settle in, once they do, they rarely need division and may resent it.
End-of-Season Care: Do not prune back now; wait until early spring. Mulch with salt marsh hay if desired.
Calendar of Care:
Early Spring: Apply a light application of balanced or slow-release fertilizer or side-dress with compost and organic amendments when new growth appears. H. niger may benefit from a side-dressing of Epsom salts or dolomitic lime. Prune back old foliage to make room for new growth. Transplant now if desired.
Mid-Spring: Water well if it is unseasonably dry as plants prefer evenly moist soil.
Late Spring: Watch for slug or snail damage and control if necessary. Remove old flower stems as they decline, and deadhead if seedlings are not desired.
Summer: Pull out any unwanted new seedlings as hybrids may not come true from seed; move desirable species seedlings to permanent locations. Groom plants by removing yellow or dead leaves.
Fall: Add lime to acid soil for H. x hybridus if a soil test shows a pH under 7.0. Do not prune back for winter, but a light mulch of salt marsh hay may be beneficial.