Helleborus Orientalis is the botanical name of the very popular, early blooming shade perennial more commonly known as the Lenten Rose. Lenten Roses grow hardy around the world in temperate zones 4-9. In the English speaking world they are known as the Lenten Rose but are not roses at all. They are actually of the Butter Cup family. Their flowers bloom during the Easter celebration of Lent, leading the vernal procession of color in the shady areas of thoughtful perennial gardens. When they are not in bloom they remain as lush ground cover throughout the year; and they are deer proof. This lush, hardy shade perennial is grown and prized by master gardeners throughout the world. The selection I grow here at my nursery produce a mixed symphony of colors ranging from white to pink to purple with many surprise variations in between - I refer to them as a Traditional Cottage Variety.
A NOTE TO MY NORTHERN CUSTOMERS:
IF YOU ORDER YOUR PLANTS DURING THE SNOWY, FREEZING WINTER MONTHS, AFTER RECEIVING THEM, YOU MAY TEMPORARILY HOUSE THEM IN CONTAINERS WHILE YOU WAIT 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 THEM IN AND MAKE SURE, WHILE THEY WAIT IN THEIR TEMPORARY HOUSING, THAT THEY GET ADEQUATE WATER AND SUN LIGHT.
IF YOU ORDER WHILE OUR GARDEN IS IN BLOOM WE CAN PICK COLORS AT YOUR REQUEST, HOWEVER 'PURE WHITE' AND 'DEEP BURGUNDY' SPECIAL ORDERS ARE LIMITED AND CARRY A 100% PREMIUM. OTHERWISE, WE OFFER OUR
TRADITIONAL COTTAGE VARIETY - RANDOM COLORS
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 TO INSURE YOUR PLANTS DO NOT GET STUCK IN THE MAIL ON THE WEEKENDS. 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.
IS THE HELLEBORE TOXIC?
THE COMMON NAME OF OUR HERO PLANT IS THE LENTEN ROSE. THE BOTANICAL NAME OF THE LENTEN ROSE IS HELLEBORUS ORIENTALIS. TRADITIONALLY THEY COME IN RANDOM COLORS RANGING FROM WHITE TO PLUMB AND INDEED, h.ORIENTALIS IS THE MOTHER OF ALL THE NAMED HELLEBORE HYBRIDS. I CALL WHAT WE GROW - A TRADITIONAL COTTAGE VARIETY.
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, probably in tincture form. 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'. Indeed. 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 talks 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 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, 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 fore arms 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. You've just been prickel'd
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 WILL NOT 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.
THEIR FLOWER PEDELS HANG DOWNWARD, LIKE THOSE OF A BUTTER CUP. FLOWER COLORS RANGE FROM PURE WHITE TO A DEEP PLUM, WITH IN-BETWEEN SHADES OF PINK, ROSE AND MAGENTA. FLOWERS OFTEN SHOW INTRICATE CONTRASTING SPOTS ON THE INSIDE OF EACH CUP-SHAPED BLOOM.
MATURE PLANTS FORM CLUMPS 16 TO 18 INCHES TALL AND 24 TO 36 INCHES IN DIAMETER. THEIR LONG LASTING BLOOMS COME IN MANY COLORS RANGING FROM WHITE TO DEEP PLUMB. THE PLANTS HAVE THICK AND STURDY SERRATED LEAVES, ESPECIALLY IN THE SUMMER. WHEN THE PLANTS ARE NOT FLOWERING THEIR FOLIAGE ADDS A BEAUTIFUL GROUND COVER TEXTURE TO THE SHADE GARDEN AND CREATE A PERFECT BACKDROP FOR BULBS AND OTHER SHADE PERENNIALS. THE LENTEN ROSE IS A GREAT HELLEBORE FOR BEGINNERS. THEY ARE HARDY, SLOW GROWING, EARLY BLOOMING, DROUGHT TOLERANT AND DEER PROOF.
NOTES ON CONTAINER GROWING
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE CONTAINER GARDENERS, LENTEN ROSES MAKE FINE OUTDOOR CONTAINER PLANTS. THE PLANTS IN THE PHOTO BELOW WERE GROWN OUTDOORS FROM SEEDLINGS UNDER REGULAR IRRIGATION.
THEY'RE 5 YEARS OLD AND GREW IN 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, GROW THEM IN LARGE CONTAINERS. THEY CAN GROW WELL IN CONTAINERS BUT REMEMBER THIS. HEALTHY LENTEN ROSES WANT TO GROW TO TROPHY SIZE, ABOUT 3 FEET IN DIAMETER. IT TAKES ABOUT 6 YEARS ALL-IN AND REMEMBER, THE ROOT SYSTEM WANTS TO MIRROR THE TOP FOLIAGE OF THE PLANT SO TO GROW TO FULL SIZE IN A CONTAINER THEY'LL NEED A CONTAINER, WELL, 3 FEET IN DIAMETER.
YOU GET THE PICTURE.
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.