Helleborus can be used in the garden in many ways. Once planted and established in the garden they will bring joy to the gardener for years. The great thing about HGC® and Spring Promise® Helleborus is that they provide flowers at a time of year when gardens are deprived of flowers. In the summer months they make a great evergreen groundcover. They can be enjoyed as cut flowers in the home. The HGC® varieties make good gift or home decorating accents that can be enjoyed inside the home that can then be planted outdoors in the garden.
The first decision to be made in the garden is where they should be planted. Typically Helleborus prefer shade. Ideally, it would be a shady area in the garden that does get some sun during the day. The little bits of sunshine here and there help to improve flowering.
Mixing your flowering Helleborus in amongst existing shrubbery can provide some interesting contrasts. Placing along walkways where visitors can see flowers poking through the snow in the late winter and early spring months is exciting. During the remaining months the HGC® varieties will make a strong groundcover. Sometimes in the harsh winter months, in colder regions of the north, some foliage burn can occur. The gardener can cut off this foliage before the flowers begin to rise if necessary. The new flowers will rise up and show their beauty for several weeks. Be careful if you trim the foliage that you do not cut off emerging flower heads under the foliage. As you are enjoying viewing the flowers, new green foliage will emerge and provide a lush green groundcover until the cool fall weather arrives and the flowering cycle begins anew.
Our breeding is working to bring color into the HGC® series. New varieties like HGC Pink Frost® and HGC Cinnamon Snow® are breakthrough varieties that offer a hint of what is to come! The Spring Promise® Garden Hybrids are the more traditional Helleborus most gardeners in North America are familiar with. They are somewhat taller, so proper space will need to be allocated in the garden. They do not spread and are not invasive either. The Spring Promise® Garden Hybrids bring a wide range of colors to the garden. Look at the gallery of photos on the Spring Promise® page of this website to enjoy their beauty. (Better yet – get them into your garden!)
Helleborus stay controlled and as mentioned above are not invasive. Each variety is different in growth habit. Some are more aggressive than others. Planting on 2’ spacing will probably suffice for the long term. Some varieties like HGC Joshua®, HGC Jacob®, HGC Josef Lemper®, and HGC Cinnamon Snow® could require a little tighter spacing. We might recommend 18” spacing on these varieties. The Spring Promise® Garden Hybrids stand about 18” to 24” tall. They would do well with 18” to 24” spacing in the garden. Helleborus prefer rich, humus soil. It is good to have strong organics in the soil to provide nutrients for the plants. Be careful that the soil does not have too much clay as this will hold moisture. Helleborus prefer a well-drained soil. Peat moss mixed with some sand can help improve the soil. When digging a new hole for your HGC® and Spring Promise® Helleborus we recommend digging a hole twice the size of the rootball. Be sure to provide new soil around the rootball that has a combination of peat moss, sand, organics (bark, etc) that gives the new tender roots an easy environment to grow into.
Plant the rootball even with the soil. Do not bury the rootball as this could damage the plants.
Water the plants as needed after planting. The plant will have new, soft soil around the rootball and may need extra water from time to time. Be careful to not allow the plants to wilt from drying. Also be careful that you do not create a swimming pool of water around your new plants as they do not swim well and could drown. Once your plants have produced new roots and grow into the existing soil in the garden you will need to water less and less. As promised, Helleborus are generally carefree once established.
Fallen leaves off of trees and shrubs help to keep the soil active with nutrients. Earthworms and other microorganisms work the soil and take care of bringing air to the soil. That means that the gardener does not need to work the soil too hard. Overworking (tilling and cultivating) the soil around established Helleborus can inhibit the development of the plants.