Image by bobosh_t
By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
Also known as Hellebore, Lenten rose plants (Helleborus orientalis) are not roses at all. Instead, they are perennial flowers that derived their name from the fact that the blooms look similar to that of a rose. In addition, these plants are seen blooming in early spring, oftentimes during the Lent season. These attractive plants are fairly easy to grow in the garden and will add a nice splash of color to gloomy, dark areas.
Growing Lenten Rose Plants
These plants grow best in rich, well-draining soil that’s kept somewhat moist. They also prefer to be planted in partial to full shade, making them great for adding color and texture to dark areas of the garden. Since the clumps are low growing, many people like planting Lenten roses along walks or wherever edging may be needed. These plants are also great for naturalizing wooded areas as well as slopes and hillsides.
The Lenten rose flower will begin blooming in late winter to early spring, lighting the garden with colors that range from white and pink to red and purple. These flowers will appear at or below the plant’s leaves. After flowering has ceased, you can simply enjoy the attractive dark green foliage.
Lenten Rose Care
Once established in the landscape, Lenten rose plants are quite hardy, requiring little care or maintenance. In fact, over time these plants will multiply to create a nice carpet of foliage and springtime blooms. They’re also drought tolerant.
About the only downside to growing these plants is their slow propagation or recovery if disturbed. They generally do not require division and will respond slowly if this is performed.
While seeds can be collected in spring, they’re best used right away; otherwise, they will dry up and go dormant, which will then require both warm and cold stratification before germination can occur.