Hellebore: growing from seeds, types and varieties

Hellebore: growing from seeds, types and varieties

Garden plants

Plant hellebore (lat.Helleborus) belongs to the genus of herbaceous perennials of the Buttercup family, of which, according to various sources, there are from 14 to 22 species growing in the shady places of the mountains in Europe, in particular in the Mediterranean, and also in the east - in Asia Minor. More species grow in the Balkan Peninsula. In Germany, a hellebore flower in a pot is a traditional Christmas gift: the legend says that a little food, saddened that he did not have gifts for the born Jesus, wept bitterly, and in the place where his tears fell, beautiful flowers bloomed, which the boy collected and brought as a gift to the Christ child. Since then, the hellebore has been called the "rose of Christ" in Europe, while in our country it is called the "winter house", because sometimes the hellebore blooms in January and even in November.

Planting and caring for the hellebore

  • Landing: in April or September.
  • Bloom: from late February to April.
  • Lighting: bright sun, partial shade and even shadow.
  • The soil: heavy clay, rich in humus, deeply cultivated, neutral reaction.
  • Watering: regular, especially in the heat.
  • Top dressing: twice a season with a mineral complex and bone meal.
  • Reproduction: seeds and spring division of the bush.
  • Pests: snails, slugs, aphids, hop worm caterpillars and mice.
  • Diseases: downy mildew, ring spot, anthracnose.

Read more about growing hellebore below.

Botanical description

The hellebore grass reaches a height of 20 to 50 cm. It has a short and thick rhizome, a simple, slightly branched stem. Leaves are basal, leathery, long-petiolate, palmate or stop-shaped. Cup-shaped flowers on a long pedicel appear at the apex of the stem from late winter to late June. What we take for flower petals are actually sepals, and the petals have been transformed into nectaries. The color range of hellebore includes several shades of white, pink, soft yellow, violet, purple, ink, and there are bicolor varieties. The shape of the flowers can be simple and double.

The early flowering of hellebore makes it a long-awaited and beloved plant for all gardeners, who, after a long colorless winter, are happy to watch as hyacinths, muscari, crocuses, spring plants, bluebirds and, of course, hellebores appear on the site. In addition to early flowering, the hellebore has such advantages as high winter hardiness and drought resistance. But for those who want to grow a hellebore in the garden, there is one caveat: like all buttercups, it is extremely poisonous!

Planting a hellebore

When to plant

A hellebore bush can grow in one place for about 10 years, and since it tolerates a transplant very badly, you need to approach the choice of a place for planting a plant responsibly. Hellebore grows best in moist, loose, clayey drained soil of neutral reaction in partial shade, among bushes and trees. The hellebore looks more spectacular when planted in small groups - a bright island against the background of a snow-covered or dull gray garden. The hellebore is planted in April or September.

How to plant

Holes for planting hellebore are dug 30x30x30 in size at a distance of 30 cm between specimens. Half of the pit is filled with compost. Then, having lowered the rhizome into the hole, they carefully hold the plant with one hand, and with the other they fill the hole with earth, tamp it and water it. The hellebore needs frequent, abundant watering for three weeks after planting.

Hellebore care

Growing conditions

Caring for the hellebore is very simple: in the spring, before flowering, all old leaves must be removed to prevent fungal spotting on young leaves and flowers of the hellebore. Young leaves appear on the plant only after flowering. When the flowers wither, mulch the soil around the bushes with decomposed peat or compost. In hot weather, the plant needs regular watering, weeding and loosening of the site, as well as feeding with bone meal and mineral fertilizer twice a season.

Hellebore propagation

The hellebore is propagated both generatively and vegetatively, although the seed method of reproduction is most often used. Hellebore seeds are sown for seedlings immediately after ripening and collection - usually at the end of June - to a depth of 1.5 cm in loose, humus, moist soil. Seedlings usually appear by March of the next year. When they grow up and they have one or two pairs of leaves, the seedlings dive into a flower bed located in partial shade, and grow there for another two or three years.

The hellebore from seeds will begin to bloom only after three years, when the plant takes root in a permanent place where it needs to be transplanted in April or September. This type of plant, like the smelly hellebore, multiplies by self-sowing.

You can propagate the hellebore by dividing the bush. In the spring, after it fades, five-year-old bushes are dug up, the rhizome of the hellebore is divided into several parts, the cuts are treated with crushed coal and planted in pre-prepared holes. By dividing the bush in the spring, the black hellebore is propagated, and in the fall it is better to divide the bushes of the eastern hellebore.

Pests and diseases

The hellebore can be harmed by gastropods - slugs and snails that eat its leaves, as well as aphids, mice and caterpillars of the hop worm. They get rid of mice with baits with poison, spread out in the places of their appearance, snails and slugs are collected by hand, and insecticides are used against insects: aphids are destroyed with Antitlin or Biotlin, and caterpillars - with Aktellik.

Of the diseases, downy mildew, anthracnose and ring spot are dangerous for hellebore. Aphids are the carrier of spotting, which is why it is so important not to allow its presence in the garden. Parts of plants damaged by spotting are removed and burned, and the hellebore and the site are treated with fungicides.

Anthracnose is diagnosed by the appearance of black-brown spots on the leaves with a barely noticeable ring pattern. The diseased leaves are removed, and the plants are treated with preparations containing copper.

On a hellebore affected by downy mildew, new leaves stop growing, and the ones that have already appeared are deformed, becoming covered with dark spots on the upper side of the leaf, and with a gray bloom on the lower side. The affected parts of the plants are cut out, and the site and the hellebore are treated with Previkur or Copper Oxychloride.

In general, the hellebore is a rather resistant plant to pests and diseases, and it can only be harmed when planting and caring for the hellebore was negligent or the conditions for growing the plant were systematically violated, for example, in an area with too high soil acidity.

Test the acidity of the soil: take a soil sample from the area with an amount of about a teaspoon, pour it on a glass lying on a dark surface, and lightly drizzle with vinegar. If the foaming is abundant, it means that the soil on the site is alkaline, if the medium is neutral, and if there is no foam at all, then it’s time to add fluff lime, wood ash or dolomite flour to the site.

Hellebore after flowering

How and when to collect seeds

Hellebore seeds ripen from June to the end of summer, but the capsules suddenly burst, and the seeds crumble to the ground. To prevent this from happening, put gauze bags on several unripe boxes and wait for the seeds to ripen and pour out into the bag. Then dry them in a dry place with good ventilation and put them in a paper bag. However, you should be aware that hellebore seeds quickly lose their germination, so it would be best not to store them until spring, but sow immediately.

Hellebore in winter

As we have already said, hellebore is a cold-resistant perennial, however, in frosty, snowless winters, it can suffer from freezing, especially for young plants. To prevent this from happening, sprinkle the area where the hellebore grows with dry foliage or throw spruce branches over it.

Types and varieties

Black hellebore (Helleborus niger)

One of the most beautiful and most widespread species in culture, found naturally in mountain forests from southern Germany to Yugoslavia. It is an evergreen perennial up to 30 cm in height with large, upward-looking flowers up to 8 cm in diameter, snow-white on the inside and slightly pinkish on the outside, located on peduncles 30 to 60 cm high.They bloom from the beginning of April for a little less than two weeks. The leaves of the black hellebore are wintering, very dense, leathery, of a beautiful dark green color.

This species has been cultivated since the Middle Ages, its winter hardiness is high - up to -35 ºC. Of the varieties, the most famous are: Nigerkors, Nigristern, and of the varieties:

  • Potters Will - hellebore with the largest white flowers in the genus up to 12 cm in diameter;
  • HGC Joshua - one of the earliest hellebores blooming in November;
  • Pracox - hellebore, also blooming in November with delicate pink flowers.

Caucasian hellebore (Helleborus caucasicus)

In nature, it is most often found not only throughout the Caucasus, but also in Greece and Turkey. It has evergreen long-petiolate hard leathery leaves up to 15 cm long, divided into wide segments, which can be from 5 to 11, and drooping flowers, white with green or yellowish-green with a brown tint, up to 8 cm in diameter, on peduncles from 20 to 50 cm. Caucasian hellebore blooms from the end of April for a month and a half. The species is winter-hardy, cultivated since 1853. This is the most poisonous type of hellebore.

Abkhaz hellebore (Helleborus abchasicus)

A plant with long-petiolate leathery bare leaves of dark green or violet-green color, purple-red peduncles 30-40 cm high and dark red drooping flowers up to 8 cm in diameter, on which darker specks are sometimes noticeable. This hellebore blooms from April for about one and a half months, winter-hardy, has various garden forms.

Eastern hellebore (Helleborus orientalis)

Like the Caucasian hellebore, it comes from the Caucasus Mountains, Turkey and Greece. It is an evergreen perennial plant up to 30 cm high with purple flowers up to 5 cm in diameter. Unfortunately, the leaves of this plant species often infect fungi. Of the many varieties, the most famous are:

  • White Swan - white-flowered hellebore;
  • Rock and Roll - hellebore with flowers covered with red-pink specks;
  • Blue Anemone - flowers of a light purple hue;
  • variety series Leidy Series - erect, fast-growing bushes with peduncles up to 40 cm in height and flowers of six different colors.

Stinking hellebore (Helleborus foetidus)

From light forests and stony slopes of Western Europe with leafy stems, reaching a height of 20-30 cm by autumn.He winter leaves, with narrow shiny segments of dark green color and a peduncle reaching a height of 80 cm, on which a lush inflorescence of numerous , small, green bell-shaped flowers with a reddish-brown edge. This type of hellebore easily tolerates dry weather. Popular variety:

  • Wester Flisk - leaves with even narrower segments than that of the main species, inflorescence branches of a reddish hue.

Corsican hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius)

As the name implies, it grows in nature on the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. It is an evergreen perennial plant up to 75 cm in height, forming several erect stems that grow rapidly in width. The yellow-green cupped flowers form large, complex brushes. At home, this species blooms in February, and in temperate climates not earlier than April. In our latitudes, it requires shelter for the winter. The most famous variety:

  • Grunspecht - hellebore with red-green flowers.

Reddish hellebore (Helleborus purpurascens)

From South-Eastern Europe, growing in shrubs and forest edges in an area stretching from the western regions of Ukraine to Hungary and Romania. It has large, long-petiolate basal, palmate-dissected leaves into 5-7 parts, green, glabrous and shiny on the upper side, and glaucous on the lower side. Drooping, dusty violet-purple hue from the outside, flowers up to 4 cm in diameter with an unpleasant odor from the inside have a greenish tint, and over time they generally turn green. This species blooms from April during the month. In culture since 1850.

Hybrid hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus)

Combines varieties of garden hybrids between different types of hellebore with flowers of various colors with a diameter of 5 to 8 cm.For example:

  • Violet - white flowers with a fluffy center, thin pink veins and a border;
  • Belinda - white double flowers with a greenish-pink glow and a border along the edge of the petals;
  • Queen of the Knight - flowers are dark purple with yellow stamens.

In addition to those described, such types of hellebores are known as green, fragrant, shrub, multipart, Tibetan, Stern and others.

Hellebore properties

In folk medicine, the healing qualities of Caucasian and black hellebores are often used, normalizing metabolism, lowering blood sugar and blood pressure, having a laxative, diuretic and bactericidal effect, cleansing the gastrointestinal tract from parasites and polyps, and gall and urinary bladders from stones, curing stomach ulcers, relieving migraines, relieving rheumatism, osteochondrosis, radiculitis and arthritis, supporting the work of the cardiovascular system, purifying the blood, increasing immunity, preventing colds and oncological diseases, as well as destroying tumor formations at an early stage.

This is not the whole list of the healing qualities of a plant that, perhaps, has been growing in your garden for many years.

As a raw material for the manufacture of medicinal preparations, only the poisonous hellebore root is used, harvested in September after the seeds ripen. The roots are washed with a stiff brush, cut and then dried at 40-45ºC in special dryers. The shelf life of dry raw materials is no more than two years. Decoctions and infusions are prepared from it, as well as powder, which has the most powerful healing effect.

In addition to being used as a medicine, hellebore is used for weight loss. It has a wonderful property to gently cleanse the body of toxins, remove excess fluid from it, break down fats, accelerate fat metabolism, which ultimately leads to the loss of unnecessary kilograms without such stressful methods as long-term diet or fasting. Miracles, of course, do not happen, and you will not lose 10 kg in a week, but guaranteed to lose 4-5 kg ​​within a month is also a decent achievement.

However, hellebore has many contraindications. Do not use preparations from the hellebore:

  • people who have had a heart attack, have tachycardia, or have other heart problems;
  • people with liver disease;
  • pregnant and lactating women;
  • children under the age of 14.

An overdose of funds causes thirst, ringing in the ears, swelling of the throat and tongue, severe poisoning, and can even lead to collapse and cardiac arrest. Among the plants, hellebore ranks first in terms of the content of heart poisons - sometimes death can occur after the very first use of the preparation from the hellebore, therefore, if you are firmly decided to use preparations containing hellebore extract, be sure to consult your doctor.


  1. Read the topic on Wikipedia
  2. Features and other plants of the Buttercup family
  3. List of all species on The Plant List
  4. More information on World Flora Online
  5. Information about Garden Plants
  6. Information on Perennial Plants
  7. Information about Herbaceous plants
  8. Information about medicinal plants

Sections: Garden plants Perennials Herbaceous Flowering Medicinal Honey plants Plants on M Buttercup

All types and varieties of hellebore can be planted during their flowering in well-thawed soil. However, the most favorable time for this is August.

First, you need to dig up the soil to the depth of two bayonets of the shovel, because the roots of the plant can penetrate half a meter into the ground. In light sandy soils, add a mixture of compost, algal limestone and bentonite (clay retains water).The land must be enriched with humus to the full depth.

Garden hellebore - species, varieties, varieties

The genus Helleborus has about 20 species, found mainly in Europe and Asia Minor. Plants reach a height of 70 cm. The leaves are thick, leathery, oblong, usually evergreen, which increases their attractiveness.

There are many hybrids that have emerged as a result of crossing a certain species with other forms. They do not have a varietal name, and the so-called shape is the name of a hybrid marked F1, which comes from the color of the petals, for example, white, pink, yellow.

Consider popular varieties and hybrids.

Types and varieties of hellebore

View Hellebore varieties Flowering period Height, cm Flower color
The black Praecox,
Christmas carol
January-May 30 white,
pinkish as it develops
Oriental Spring Beauty,
Picotee Strain,
Blue Lady,
Red Lady,
Yellow lady
November-April 50 white,
dark cherry,
Dark red,
yellow with brown
Smelly February-June 50 light green with red edge
Reddish February-April 50 purple,
greenish inside
Corsican February-April 50 yellow-green
Hybrid White Spotted Lady,
Ashwood Garden,
Double Vision,
Yellow lady
November-April 50-70 white,
light yellow,

Black (Niger)

The more commonly grown Black Hellebore (Helleborus niger) is an evergreen perennial plant. The flowers of the plant are white. In summer, young shoots appear around young plants that have grown from the seeds of the previous year.

Helleborus Niger is a plant up to 30 cm high, with dark green leaves and 1-3 pure white or pink-red white, bowl-shaped flowers up to 8 cm wide. Flowers appear in winter and spring. Black hellebore grows well in the sun, it is better to protect it from the wind. It is easy to propagate by seeds, but it is unlikely that the expectations of the variety will "come true" if you collect the seeds yourself.

The black hellebore needs care - old, faded or damaged leaves must be removed when flowers appear.


The most spectacular view is in the hybrid hellebore (Helleborus hybridus). It has many interesting varieties with large flowers in color:

  • white,
  • pink,
  • purple,
  • dark burgundy,
  • spotted,
  • double.

The hybrid hellebore is very popular. However, in cold regions it can freeze in harsh winters, plant care includes shelter for the winter with agrotextile.


The easiest to grow is the stinking hellebore (Helleborus foetidus). Dried hellebore rhizomes are characterized by a pungent odor, hence the infamous name. The species is evergreen. In addition to the flowering period, the plants remain decorative until the seeds are ripe - until mid-summer. Helleborus foetidus flowers are only slightly open, have green petals with a red frame.

Smelly hellebore varieties reach heights of up to 50 centimeters and have beautiful decorative leaves. If you do not disturb the soil around the bushes, do not dig all year round, there are good chances for young plants that will grow from self-seeded seeds.


It is very popular in Western Europe; in Russia, the Eastern Helleborus (Helleborus orientalis) is also gradually gaining recognition. The plant blooms from March to May. Some varieties have fairly large flowers. The flowers remain decorative until mid-summer, when the seeds are ripe.


The first flowers of the Corsican species (Helleborus argutifolius) appear at the end of January and remain until April. This species is partially cold-tolerant.

Photo - Corsican hellebore

Other popular types

The following 2 species of hellebore grow wild in the mountains:

  1. Green (Helleborus viridis),
  2. Reddish (Helleborus purpurascens) hellebore - the plant reaches a height of 30 centimeters. Flowers, collected in 2-3, are directed downward. At first, they are greenish-purple in color, then they become darker, reaching a purplish-red color. The species is used in natural medicine and is under strict protection.

Photo - reddish hellebore

  • Caucasian (helleborus caucasicus)
  • Abkhaz hellebore (helleborus abchasicus)
  • Tibetan hellebore (Helleborus thibetanus).

Growing nasturtium from seeds

Sowing seeds

Most often, nasturtium is grown from seeds - due to their large size, this process is not difficult. Direct sowing is carried out from mid-May, when frost is completely bypassed. For this, small (2 cm deep) holes are prepared, keeping a distance of 25-30 cm between them. 3-4 seeds are placed in each hole. Seed material does not need mandatory preliminary preparation, but to accelerate germination a day before sowing, the seeds can be soaked in water or a solution of a growth stimulator.

If it gets noticeably colder at night, the beds with crops for this period are covered with a film. For watering nasturtium, it is advisable to use only warm water heated in the sun. In such conditions, seedlings should appear within a couple of weeks.

Growing seedlings

To get blooming nasturtiums earlier, the seeds should be sown on seedlings. To facilitate future transplantation, they are immediately placed in peat or seedling cups with a removable bottom. Sowing is carried out in the middle of spring, sowing 1-3 seeds for each container. Containers with seedlings are covered with foil and kept at a temperature of about 20-22 degrees. Every day, the film must be slightly opened for airing. As with direct seeding, the sprouts should appear within 2 weeks.

After the seeds germinate, they need to provide sufficient lighting (at least 12 hours) - otherwise the sprouts will stretch out and take longer to recover after transplanting to the garden. If it is not possible to add light to the flowers, you can try to lower the temperature - the heat can also help stretch. Watering is carried out at the root, so that water does not fall on the leaves. In order not to damage the fragile roots of nasturtium, the picking of such seedlings is not carried out, so they try to immediately sow the seeds in a separate glass. The bushes are transplanted to a permanent place along with a soil clod, trying to disturb the root system as little as possible.

Hellebores: varieties and types

About 15 species belong to the genus Hellebore. Some of them live up to their name, in other words, they are quite hardy and winter-hardy in our climate.

Hellebore black (Helleborus niger) native to Central and Southeastern Europe is a Christmas rose. An ancient garden plant. The flowers are white, sometimes light pink in varieties. The leaves are evergreen.

Eastern hellebore (Helleborus orientalis). This species became the ancestor of a huge number of varieties known as "oriental hybrids". It occurs naturally in Greece, Turkey and the Caucasus.

Plants differ from each other in different parts of the range.

On this basis, sometimes several subspecies are distinguished: the eastern hellebore itself, or the hellebore Caucasian (Helleborus orientalis subsp. Orientalis (syn. Helleborus caucasicus)), hellebore abkhaz (Helleborus orientalis subsp. Abchasicus (syn. Helleborus abchasicus)) and speckled hellebore (Helleborus orientalis subsp.guttatus).

Hellebore tibetan (Helleborus thibetanus) was first discovered in China in 1869. The "garden career" of this hellebore impresses with its swiftness. In 1991, several specimens were grown in the UK from seeds obtained from China, and today tibetan hellebore

Interesting fact: Caucasian hellebore is used by many for weight loss. The reviews are such that the combination shows that it helps many.

Hellebore care

This culture is considered unpretentious. In dry times, she needs regular watering. In addition, during the summer, plants can be fed 2-3 times with mineral fertilizer or bone meal. The culture also responds well to mulching with humus. Before the onset of frost, it is recommended to insulate the plants with a layer of fallen leaves (apple, linden, oak) or spruce branches.

The hellebore stands for a long time in the cut, and besides, it is great in container plantings.

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