When to plant hellebores – A guide to winter flowers

Horticulturist shares tips for planting bulbs in containers

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Gardening during the winter can be a dull task, leaving your garden to suffer as a result – but just because the weather doesn’t deliver, it doesn’t mean you should neglect your garden until Spring. There are plenty of winter blooms including hellebores which can spice up your beds and borders for an uplifting view from your home. Planting them at the right time is key to secure a vibrant display of healthy flowers – and this is your timely guide to getting it right.

Why you should plant hellebores

Hellebores are a great winter bloom because they are mostly hardy and can survive the tough weather we Brits dread between September and February.

With the seasons becoming more unpredictable each year, this gorgeously delicate flower could last you right through until the spring.

Planting this soft bloom which boasts stunning evergreen foliage is easier than you may think and now is the time to be doing it.

Hellebores, commonly known as Oriental hybrids, are a popular choice for households across Britain when choosing winter flowers.

This plant is easy to grow and is made even more appealing by its longevity.

Plating them is relatively simple but as with any wintering flowers, preparing the plant for the harsh weather is key to its survival.

Once planted, utmost varieties of this perennial require minimum maintenance and are a sight to behold.

When to plant hellebores

Finding jobs to do in your garden after summer can be tricky as we gravitate towards the warmth of our home.

Planting hellebores is one way to stay gardening through the colder months, growing at their best when planted between autumn and spring.

You can plant as and when the flower is available from September onwards.

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Avoid planting hellebores in spring as they suffer when in hot conditions or in periods of drought.

You can buy hellebores ready for planting from late autumn in containers that are 9cm or larger.

Most varieties of hellebores are best planted out in your borders after they have been grown in containers.

Transfer from containers to beds once the flowers have faded in spring.

How to plant hellebores

Choose the right variety for your garden – there are many different types offering a range of flower colours from white, green and yellow to pink and purples.

When planting from seed, place the hellebore into well-draining, organic soil in part-shade, part-sun.

Make sure your chosen space will accommodate growth, planting around 35-45cm apart for best results.

Establish in containers and then transfer to beds, or move to a larger container to protect them from a particularly wet winter if necessary.

Top tips…

According to the Royal Horticultural Society, hellebores should be deadheaded each year after flowering to remove spent blooms.

Mulch the soil of planted hellebores in spring to avoid it drying out.

Planting your hellebores for optimum growth depends on the variety.

The RHS have devised this useful breakdown of hellebores varieties:

  • Helleborus foetidus is best for deeper shade

Helleborus lividus, Helleborus niger and Helleborus thibetanus prefer a position that is sheltered, cool, in light shade and has well-drained soil or the drainage of a raised bed.

Helleborus argutifolius and Helleborus × sternii are best for sun and should also be sheltered from strong, cold winds

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