Hellebore trends and developments

 In Gardening, Hardy perennials, Plant Focus, Seasonal Gardening
hellebore trends, helleborus, hellebores, lenten rose

Anemone centred hellebores

Hellebore trends are making a lot of people sit up and notice! We are witnessing a remarkable time in the life of garden hellebores!

Perhaps it was like this when the hybridizing of roses began? From very simple looking wild roses we now have a plethora of rose colours and shapes of our favourite garden bloom. Well, we’ve a long way to go before we have that vast range to choose from. I think that you’ll agree that the way hellebore breeders are going at the moment is breath-taking!

My own strain

hellebore trends, hellebores, helleborus, lenten rose

A good double flowered yellow hellebore

The current interest in developing new colours and flower forms of the Lenten rose is a very good thing since this is a particularly easy and long lived garden plant to grow!

When I had my own nursery at Cleeve in North Somerset I played a part in this. I selected and developed the Ciderhouse Strain of hellebores. But you’ll find there are breeders all over the world that have focused attention on this lovely early flowering perennial. They are setting the hellebore trends.

How to keep in touch

One of the good things about social media is that it brings together those with a common interest. I know from following the Facebook group ‘Heavenly Hellebores’ that the new hellebores we now see could appear anywhere in the World. They could easily be in New Zealand, Japan, USA, Canada or just about any European country! Social media is an excellent way to follow hellebore trends.

Current trends

So what are the hellebore trends and how far have we come from that white Lenten rose that started it all?

hellebore trends, helleborus, lenten rose, hellebores

Bicolour showing outer purple tepals but green within.

The major changes can be summarized as improved choice of colours, better flower markings, double blooms, anemone centred blooms, picotee petals and flowers held up to be seen.

Some hellebores even have a totally different colour inside the flower to that on the outside! This might be described as a bicolour.

hellebore trends, helleborus, lenten rose, hellebores

Part of my Ciderhouse Strain hellebore collection

Some new varieties have several of these attributes but, alongside this desire for greater choice, I have always been looking for plants that perform well in the garden. You’ll find that many of my selections will produce upwards of 40-50 blooms each. And they’ll do this for those early months when we all yearn for more colour in our lives!

Early, easy colour

Hellebores start to flower around the turn of the year and go on flowering well into April. They like well-drained soil that remains moist throughout the year. Whilst they will tolerate full sun, they are at their best in dappled shade and for that reason are excellent plants to grow under trees and established shrubs. There is no question of hardiness and many of this group are virtually evergreen too.

My own very extensive collection was planted in my rather cold north west facing garden. Why not get a taste of them from this video I made a few years ago? View it here.


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