Hellebores in Winter


Every season of the year has a profound impact on the development and potential of hellebore growth. You should not underestimate the importance of the winter season for the perennial plants known as hellebores.

They are a popular garden choice for individuals that want their perennials to bloom during the winter months of the year. Usually spanning from November to February. Many hellebores continue blooming into the early weeks of spring as well. 

Since it is not uncommon for Hellebores to bloom in the late winter, you can expect some of them to bloom in January. Other varieties of hellebores may bloom a little bit later in the spring. Other maintenance may also be required for hellebores during the winter, including the potential for shearing back their foliage to the base of the plant.

Many types of plants struggle to survive in cold winter conditions. Hellebores should not be included in that category. Remarkably, hellebores are known for being able to survive freezing temperatures during the winter.

Their tenacious survival ability can tolerate icy conditions and freezing rain. Even moderate amounts of snow won’t generally harm hellebores in the long run. 

Due to their natural ability to survive extreme conditions and temperatures, hellebores can survive in freezing temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. While it’s not recommended to have them exposed to this type of freezing temperature, it’s still likely that they will survive through it. 

Do Hellebores Bloom in the Winter?

If you have a winter garden, you’ve likely considered many hellebore varieties as an addition to your garden. The good news is that hellebores are an excellent choice for winter gardens because they generally bloom in the final days of winter through the early spring. 

One popular hellebore variety is known as the ‘Christmas Rose’,  potentially symbolizing the fact that it blooms around Christmas every year. The Christmas Rose is known for its vibrant flowers that are native to various parts of Europe near the mountain ranges. 

The Christmas Rose commonly blooms during December and prefers slightly warmer temperatures than other similar hellebore varieties like the Lenten Rose. It’s also worth noting that the Christmas Rose is known for blooming in December, while the ‘Lenten Rose’ companion is more known for blooming in the spring. 

Not all hellebore varieties bloom in the winter. Some bloom in the spring, but the Christmas Rose is the most common variety that blooms between November and January. Other varieties can bloom during the winter months, but it’s certainly not as likely. 

See our article for Christmas Rose here.

Hellebores – Winter Maintenance

It is recommended to prune your hellebores in the final days of the winter.  It’s also not a bad idea to apply fertilizers to your hellebores at the beginning of the year, just as winter is about to end.

Other than some basic maintenance, hellebores don’t need a whole lot of care to survive the winter. As long as they receive the appropriate care in their early days, they should be more than capable of surviving in even the coldest temperatures and freezing conditions.

Can You Plant Hellebores in the Winter?

While some people choose to plant hellebores in the winter, it’s generally not the best idea. You should try to plant your hellebores in the autumn, if possible. If you plant in the summer or spring, they will require more water maintenance. If you plant them in the winter, the ground will be much colder and may be cold enough to harm their early development.

The autumn is widely considered to be the best time to plant most of the hellebore varieties because it provides a short amount of time where all of the climate conditions are well-balanced to give your hellebore the most convenient path to grow and survive.

In warmer regions that don’t experience freezing temperatures in the wintertime, you could choose to plant your hellebores during the winter months. Other regions that experience freezing temperatures during the winter may not be suitable for planting hellebores during the winter months. 

Can Hellebores Survive Frost

Yes, hellebores can survive frost. They will still need a solid location that experiences some sunlight and shade throughout the day. They will grow fairly well during the winter due to the cooler temperatures, so long as they are not ‘extremely’ cold. Other than that, hellebores can be planted just before a period of cold weather, since they can be assisted with their growth by the cooler temperatures. 

Do Hellebores Die Back in the Winter?

Most hellebores varieties are considered evergreens. This means they stay green through the winter, such as with evergreen trees. Hellebore is extremely adaptable and can maintain itself well in cold temperatures. They can even do well in hotter climates, with the appropriate amount of water.

While they do not die back, they do become somewhat of an eyesore. The evergreen bits from winter stay on the plant as it moves into the spring. What was once green through the winter, starts to look a little messy. Along with being able to survive freezing temps, they are also deer resistant. Source.

Related Questions

Which hellebores are most suitable for the winter conditions? 

If you are trying to figure out which hellebores are best for the winter, then you should strongly consider the Christmas Rose and the Corsican Hellebore. Both of these hellebore varieties have a reputation for blooming in the final weeks of winter and into the springtime. In rarer cases, you might also be able to include the Lenten Rose in this category of hellebore perennials that are suitable for winter blooming.

Should hellebores be cut back just before the conclusion of winter?

You can prune your hellebores right before the conclusion of winter. It can also be a good idea to water your hellebores if temperatures start to pick up for the spring, especially if it is a dry winter.  Not all hellebores will need to be cut back or pruned, so keep this in mind before committing to your decision to prune your hellebores.

Angela Fox

I've been growing perennial flowers and plants for over 30 years. I love being with my family, gardening, hiking, and spending time in nature.

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