The hellebore Orientalis, commonly known as the Lenten rose, is an evergreen, late-winter early-spring flowering member of the buttercup family. so it's not really a rose at all. It gets its name because they usually bloom during Lent and they display various beautiful rosey colors in their blooms. They grow hardy in Zones 4 to 9 and can survive in Zone 3 winters.
NOTES ON CONTAINER GROWING
For those of you who are container gardeners, Lenten Roses make fine outdoor container plants...down here in NE Ga where the winters are fairly mild. They prefer outdoors to indoor house plants. The plants in the photo below were grown outdoors from seedlings under regular irrigation. The top picture BELOW, are full gallons, the BOTTOM PHOTO, are 3 gallons. The pictures were taken in year 5. Athens, Ga.
Remember, first be patient, Lenten Roses are very slow growing perennials. They take 4 year to mature before they flower for the first time.
If you want them to grow large IN CONTAINERS, grow them in large containers. The containers in the photo with the hat are 3 gallon and as you can see in another year they would want an even larger container. Honestly, these aren't really ment to live their whole life as container plants. You can grow them in containers but remember this. Healthy Lenten Roses want to grow to trophy size, about 3 feet in diameter IN ABOUT 6 YEARS ALL IN, and the root system of the hellebore mirrors the top foliage ploom. So to grow to full size they'll need a container WELL, 3 feet in diameter.
Keep your potting soil moist. Lenten Roses love water. the pictures below are containers from my nursery and at the nursery, especially in the summer, these plant would get 8-15 minutes under sprinkler irrigation every day. so for best results, container plants should stay pretty moist, especially if you use well drained bagged potting soil.
A NOTE TO MY NORTHERN CUSTOMERS: during the snowy, freezing winter months After receiving their plants, some of my Northern customers, temporarily house their new plants in containers, waiting for the snow to melt and the ground to thaw. My advise here is to use the soil, FOR YOUR CONTAINERs, from the garden bed that you will be planting too and make sure, WHILE THEY WAIT IN THEIR TEMPORARY HOUSING, that
they get adequate WATER .
If you order while our garden is in bloom we can pick colors at your request, however 'pure white' and 'deep burgundy' orders are limited and carry a 50% premium. Otherwise, we offer our
TRADITIONAL cottage variety™
RANDOM color selection
SHIPPING AND PLANTING INFORMATION:
Your Lenten Roses are shipped to you via USPS Priority Mail. In most cases, you will receive them within 2-3 days. Our shipping day is Monday through most of the year. During the flowering season our order volume picks up and we SHIP MONDAY & TUESDAY. place your order now.... we ship sequentially. LET US KNOW if your order is A GIFT OR BIRTHDAY PRESENT. WE WILL WRITE your NOTE ON THE BOX :-)
After you receive them, gently rinse the foliage and roots and plant them in a shady or filtered-sun areas of your garden. Keep moist, but not soggy FOR SEVERAL MONTHS WHILE THEY GET ACQUAINTED WITH THEIR NEW HOME, then water as needed. Remember to allow 24 TO 36 inches between each plant FOR TROPHY SIZE GROWTH. be patient. Lenten Roses are slow growing perennials and WILL TAKE several months to get settled and a few years to fill out. Enjoy.
To the toxicity of the plant: It is true, sort of.
In my early Lenten Rose days (20+ years ago) I looked into it pretty extensively. I found everything from folk lore to an academic paper written at a major west coast University.
Starting with the folk lore, it has been said that Alexander the Great died from an over dose of Hellebore. In the days before modern medicine the hellebore tincture was a staple in every good Apothecary's bag. Loosely translated Helleborus means 'food of the Beast'. So indeed there was a medicinal value to the hellebore plant and like many medicines, used improperly they can be toxic. I think the hellebore remedy was used to treat anxiety and stress related illness but its hard to find homeopathic information in today's pharmacological world. Ugh.
The academic study I read talk about how several cattle from a mans herd had died along their fence line. Their belly's were severely swollen. Investigation revealed that they had eaten hellebore plants.
From my own experience, and what may alert, even alarm, some people/gardeners is the affect that the tough serrated leaves can have on your skin. After the flowers drop their seeds in the early summer, the growth of new foliage that follows, which is designed to lovingly protect and shade the fallen seeds throughout the summer and early fall months, becomes very serrated and quite prickly. I know because during our seed harvest we spend a lot of time with our hands ruffling through our plants in search of mature seed and boy, if you are not wearing long sleeves your forearms will be dotted with little prickle marks - it's kind of creepy if you don't realize it's happening but there is no toxic affect. None.
SO, THE TAKE AWAY IS, I WOULD NOT EAT THE PLANT. THAT WILL PROBABLY MAKE YOU VERY SICK. BUT WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO EAT THIS PLANT? AND, THE LEAVES WILL PRICKLE YOU BUT THAT WON'T MAKE YOU SICK
I'VE GROWN TENS OF THOUSANDS OF THEM FOR OVER 20 YEARS AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT AS BEAUTIFUL AS THEY ARE, I HAVE NEVER BEEN TEMPTED TO EAT ONE OR FOR THAT MATTER, RAISE ANIMALS THAT GRAZE.