Lenten Roses, also known as Hellebores, are semi-evergreen perennials native to temperate zones in Europe and Western China. The name Hellebore symbolizes serenity, tranquility and peace. Fortunately for us, Hellebores tolerate a wide range of soils in Central Texas and provide winter blooms in the shade with relatively little care.
Plant Hellebores in soil that has been amended with organic matter in dappled shade. Leaves will scorch in the summer sun. Planting under a deciduous tree is ideal, as sun is needed in the winter to encourage blooms.
Well-drained soil is essential, so if you have clay soil or low spots in your garden, consider keeping them in pots.
Fertilize with an organic acidic fertilizer in the fall, such as Microlife Acidifier, or Happy Frog Organic Fertilizer for Acid Loving Plants.
Topdress with an organic compost in the fall, taking care to avoid placing it next to the stems or on the crown of the plant to prevent rot.
Remove “spent” leaves in the spring as the new growth is emerging. Although the plants will spread slowly by rhizomes, division is not necessary to maintain the health of the plant. If division is desired, lift the plants in the fall and divide carefully. Plants that are divided may not flower for two years.
Hellebores are actually quite deer resistant and somewhat drought resistant once established. They pair well with other shade-loving plants such as Holly ferns or Autumn ferns, Hosta, Chinese ground orchids and Coral Bells.
There are many different varieties available which vary in height and bloom time from late fall to early spring. Their winter blooms provide food for pollinators in the winter when little else is blooming.