How to grow hellebores from seed 

The genus Helleborus contains some of the most gorgeous of all hardy, winter flowering plants. They are a range of herbaceous or evergreen perennial flowering plants, and depending on the species they are best known as the 'Christmas rose' or 'Lenten rose'.

However, it turns out that hellebores are not closely related to the rose family, and a word to the wise -  many of the species are poisonous!

This plant has become a traditional cottage garden favourite due to the extensive work that plant breeders have put into producing large-flowered cultivars.

So good is the Helleborus genus that the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the Royal Horticultural Society has been awarded to Helleborus foetidus, Helleborus niger and the series of Ashwood Garden hybrids.

Not only are Hellebores easily grow from seed, plant breeders have found out it is even possible to hybridize the species.

Growing hellebores from seed

How to grow hellebores from seed 
For the best results you should time to sow Hellebore seeds is when they are fully ripe which is usually around June or July. However, it is possible to germinate hellebore seed at any time of year.

Sow hellebore seed into 3 inch pots containing a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. Sow the seed on the surface of the compost and then cover with a little fine compost or vermiculite, or if by some chance you have some to hand, some well rotted leaf mould. Gently water and then cover the pot with a small sheet of glass and place in a cold frame or equally sheltered position with the pot sunk up to its rim in soil. Be aware that germination can be very slow, taking up to 18 months in extreme cases. You can reduce this period by pre-chilling the seed in the bottom draw of a fridge for 4-6 weeks before sowing.

Once germinated, you can prick out young seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle. grow them on for a season and plant out into their final position outside the following autumn or spring. They will require a rich, moist well-drained soil and part shade. Just make sure that wherever you plant them your hellebores do not become waterlogged as this can severely damage the root system which in extreme case will result in the death of the plant.

Main image credit - Simon Garbutt
In text image - Public Domain,

For related articles click onto the following links:
HELLEBORUS 'Penny's Pink'

No comments: