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Helleborus spp: A basic guide for the growth and care of Hellebore plant 

The hellebores genus is home to numerous plant species all possessing different characteristics and features. They are all perennials and members of the Ranunculaceae family. 

Helleborus Spp

Although most species of the hellebore differ in features and characteristics, something they all have in common is that they possess palm-like leaves that are evergreen and thick. 

They are tolerant to most climate conditions as their USDA hardy zones range from zone 3 to zone 9. And 2 of their popular species are known for having high toxicity levels for people and pets. These are the Helleborus Orientalis and the Helleborus Niger. 

Botanical NameHelleborus Spp
Common NamesHellebore
OriginAsia and Europe
Plant TypeEvergreen Perennial, flowering plant
Full SizeFrom 1 foot to 2 feet tall, from 1 foot to 2 feet wide
Sun ExposureRanges from partial shade to full shade 
Soil TypeRich, well-draining but moist soil 
ToxicityCan be toxic to both people and pets

Hellebores Varieties

Hellebore genus consists of many varieties, some hybrids are being produced often and a few interesting examples are;

  • Anna’s Red Hellebore
  • Hellebore Wester flisk
  • Black Hellebore
  • Hellebore citron
  • Helleborus Winter jewel

How To Care For Hellebores   

Hellebores range from low to average maintenance plants depending on its species. However, by meeting its basic requirements like lighting, soil, temperature, and watering, you should be able to get a healthy hellebore flower. 

Hellebores Light Requirement   

The intensity of sunlight provided for the Helleborus plant depends on the season. They perform as shade plants during the summer season as they require less sunlight exposure and can grow well in full shade.

During the winter season, the Helleborus plant requires more sunlight to stay warm, so it is recommended you provide at least 6 hours of exposure to direct sunlight during this period. 

Access to excess sunlight during the more warm months can be harmful to the plant’s leaves as the sunlight could scorch them.

When planting hellebores outdoors, a great spot would be behind a deciduous tree plant, as this would provide adequate shade during the summer seasons and also expose the Hellebores flower to direct sunlight during the fall and winter seasons when it drops its leaves. 

Watering the Hellebores Plant

Watering the Hellebores Plant
Petal Republic

Limit watering to once a week after you have checked the water moisture of the soil as hellebores roots are delicate and if they stay in soggy soil too long, they start to rot. 

Using a moisture meter tool to measure the soil’s moisture level before watering does help and if you don’t have a moisture meter, feel the top part of your soil with your finger before watering. 

Use dechlorinated water at room temperature, so as not to stress the plant’s root. 

Hellebore Soil Requirement 

A perfect soil for planting hellebore would be a well-draining soil that has a little moisture-retaining ability and is rich in organic matter. 

You can achieve this with a healthy mix of good potting soil with peat moss and a little mulch. Organic compost should be added to provide nutrients. 

The pH range should be between alkaline and neutral. If your soil mix is acidic, then you can use lime to reduce the acidity level of the soil. 

Hellebore Temperature and Humidity Requirement 

How hardy your Helleborus plant depends on the variety. However,  Hellebores can survive USDA hardy zones that range from zone 3 to zone 9. 

Humidity levels for the hellebore vary with each species of the genus, but in general, Helleborus plants tolerate most levels. 

Hellebore Fertilizer Requirement   

Hellebores don’t need regular fertilizer to flourish as the initial organic compost added to the soil should be enough to promote proper growth. 

If your initial soil mix is poor in nutrients, then use a water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the Helleborus plant growing season. 

Hellebore Propagation 

Hellebore Propagation 

The best method for propagating a Helleborus flower is through the division method. When doing this, be sure to wear protective gloves as the sap from the plant could be toxic.

Pruning Hellebore Plants

Pruning should be done during the start of spring or the end of winter, and do ensure you sterilize the tools being used before pruning. Nip the plant’s dead leaves at the base of the stem to encourage the growth of new leaves. 


Most Helleborus plant species are toxic when ingested by kids and pets, so it is recommended that you keep them away from their reach. Call a licensed medical professional when you notice that a pet or child has eaten from a toxic plant.

Common Health Problems of the Helleborus Spp    

  • Aphids
  • Leaf Spots
  • Root Rots 
  • Black Death 

Frequently Asked Questions

When does hellebore bloom?

Hellebores are known to bloom from the end of November through to April.

Are hellebores evergreen?

Hellebores are known as evergreen perennials.

Where is the best place to plant hellebores?

Grow your Hellebores in areas with full shade during the summer and areas with full sun during winter.

Are hellebores annuals or perennials?

Hellebores are known perennials and as such, they have a long life span.

What is the best fertilizer for hellebores?

Organic matter is the best fertilizer to be used for a hellebore plant and this should be added to the initial soil mix.