Pictures of lenten roses

Lenten rose, Helleborus xhybridus, in bloom.

Helleborus ×hybridus is a group of evergreen, late-winter or early-spring flowering perennials in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) with the common names of hellebore, oriental hellebores, or Lenten rose (the name Christmas rose refers to H. niger). Helleborus (hellebore) is a small genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials native to Europe and Asia. The species are rarely used in gardens as hellebores hybridize easily and many improved garden plants with superior flowering and flower colors have been developed. Formerly known as Helleborus orientalis hybridus — a confusing and incorrect name since H. orientalis is a distinct species — garden hybrids are collectively called H. ×hybridus (although many times they are still offered in the trade as H. orientalis). These Lenten roses are hybrids of at least nine species, but there are additional interspecific hybrids, such as H. ×ballardiae (H. niger crossed with H. lividus), that are offered as ornamental plants for the garden. Lenten rose is hardy from Zone 9 to Zone 5, and colder when plants have with winter protection such as good snow cover.

Lenten rose in a garden.

Mature plants can form clumps that are 18” to 24” tall and 24” to 30” wide. The glossy, deep green foliage can be quite variable in color and shape, even within the same hybrid. The leaves are divided into 7 to 9 segments with an umbrella-like shape. They have tough, almost woody stems with leaves and terminal inflorescence on the same stem. The toothed, leathery foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season, remaining evergreen in mild climates and even persisting under snow (but decline over the winter, often flattened on the ground).

Lenten rose forms a large clump (L) of deeply divided, umbrella-like leaves (LC) that persist even under snow (RC), although the evergreen foliage often is flattened to the ground by the following spring as new shoots emerge (R).

What appear to be the colored petals are really sepals.

Flower buds form during the previous summer, with the distinctive, 1-2” wide, long-lasting flowers blooming in early spring with daffodils and tulips. Flower spikes emerge from the underground rhizome in late winter. Five petal-like sepals (a modified calyx) surround a ring of small, yellowish-green, tubular, nectaries in an open, bell shape. The nectaries are actually the petals modified to hold nectar. Inside the ring of petals there are numerous stamens and several pistils. After the flower is pollinated the petals and stamens fall off, but the sepals do not drop, remaining on the plant for 1-2 months or more (and probably contribute to seed development). Mature plants often have 50 or more flowers per plant. Blooms make good cut flowers and their seed heads add interest in dried arrangements.

Drooping buds (L and LC) open with the flowers facing downward (C) to expose the stamens and stigmas (RC) and ring of cup-like nectaries that are modified petals (R).

Flowers of hellebore garden hybrids come in a rainbow of colors in both single or double forms. Flower color ranges from pure white to a plum color bordering on black, with clear red, pink, yellow, green or cream; others speckled, spotted and mottled on the inside of the flower; and some with picotee edges (narrow margins of a darker color). The outside of the sepals is often green-tinged, and most flowers become greener as they age.

Flowers of hellebore hybrids may be single or double and come in a range of colors and markings.

Flowers are often followed by unusual seed pods that offer ornamental interest and can produce viable seeds if left on the plant. The carpels eventually dry and split to release the sort of bean-shaped, shiny black seeds, each with a white elaiosome, that become wrinkled with age.

Lenten rose combines well with many other shade perennials.

Lenten roses are an outstanding combination plant for adding color, texture, and habit to the ornamental shade garden, in areas between deciduous shrubs and under trees, or naturalized in woodland areas. They can be the stars of the early spring garden as specimen plants, in masses as a foil for other spring bulbs and could even be used as a tall ground cover. Lenten rose combines well with other spring-blooming perennials such as barrenwort (Epimedium spp.), wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa) and Hepatica. Later in the season the foliage provides a nice backdrop for hostas and other shade perennials.They are also excellent for planting on a hillside above a path where the downward-facing flowers can be viewed from below.

Lenten rose does best in partial to full sun.

Lenten rose does best in partial to full sun and well-drained, humus-rich and fertile garden soil. In the Midwest they will grow well in sun, but in more southern locations require some shade. They are relatively drought tolerant once established, but do best with consistent moisture. They are very sensitive to soggy soil, so the site must have good drainage. This plant requires little maintenance. The previous season’s leaves will be dried and tattered after the winter and are best cut off at the ground as the flowers emerge in the spring. Fertilize in early spring, and mulch in winter (with evergreen boughs or marsh hay) in colder areas. Like other members of the Ranunculaceae, hellebores have alkaloids in the leaves and seeds that can cause mild dermatitis in sensitive individuals, so gardeners should wear gloves when exposure might occur. These same alkaloids make the leaves undesirable to deer and rabbits, but slugs like their flowers.

Lenten rose can be propagated from seed or by division.

Commercial plants are propagated from seed, division or tissue culture, but germination is slow and it can take four or five years to produce a plant of flowering size, and seedlings will not come true from seed. Seeds ripen in late spring and early summer, and must be sown fresh. Leaving the seed pods on the plants to allow volunteers to sprout is probably the easiest way to get seedlings. These can be carefully dug to move to pots or other areas of the garden, or left to enlarge the clump. Established clumps can be left alone for 20 or more years, but may be divided (each division should have several crowns), preferably in the fall or at flowering time. The recovery time is slow with division.

– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin – Madison

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Helleborus orientalis

If you’re tired of looking out the window at a dormant winter landscape, have I got a plant for you! It’s Helleborus orientalis a.k.a. Lenten rose, or simply, hellebore.

While the rest of the garden sleeps and chill winds blow, this pugnacious evergreen perennial raises stalwart stems into the frosty air, often blooming as early as January, and continuing well into spring. It’s indigenous to the limestone-rich regions of Mediterranean Europe, particularly the Balkan Mountains.

There are currently 17 known species of hellebore. One, H. thibetanus, is native to China.

H. orientalis is a member of the Ranunculaceae family that includes buttercups. Its readily available hybrids are considered the easiest hellebores for home gardeners to cultivate.

Here’s what’s to come:

Read on to learn about this unique species, and how to grow it in your yard!

Plant Culture

Hybrids of the wild Lenten rose are readily available for home gardeners in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 through 9.

You’ll find them under the name Helleborus x hybridus, which we’ll talk about in a little bit.

Lenten roses are acaulescent, meaning each stem rises directly from the rhizomous root system, to form clumps that may reach over a foot in height and two feet in width.

Downward-facing cup-shaped flowers consist of petal-like sepals surrounding an intricately detailed inner flower called a “nectary.”

Sepal hues range from shades of green and yellow to pink and red. Variations such as contrasting spotting, veining, and “picotee” edging, as well as semi-double and double sepals, multiply the possibilities in an already extensive color palette.

Foliage consists of glossy dark green multi-lobed leaves with a serrated edge and leathery texture.

This species requires moist, loamy soil that is well-drained. It thrives in exposed locations in the winter, but when summer heat arrives, it is vulnerable. Plant in the partial to full shade of a deciduous tree (i.e. one that drops its leaves), so that it has summer sun protection.

I lost a hellebore once to intense summer heat. I had placed it near a spruce tree, thinking it would provide appropriate shade. No such luck.

It is important to note that like many ornamentals, Lenten rose is toxic to people and pets, so don’t eat it! Also, skin contact may cause irritation, so gardening gloves are a must.


H. x hybridus is self-sowing . But keep in mind that seeds generate variable characteristics, and may not replicate those of parent plants.

You may let seeds drop to form seedlings, and transplant seedlings to desired locations. Seeds that drop into the root crown of the parent plant should be relocated. You can also collect seeds for sowing in other locations.

In addition, different colored self-sown seedlings may sprout near one another and give the appearance of one plant with two different color blossoms for added interest. Similarly, flower sepals may fade, for example, from green to pink, also giving a two-toned appearance.

You may harvest seeds in early summer. Some growers fasten small mesh bags around wilted flowers to catch the seeds as pods open. When they are black, sow them immediately.

And finally, you may divide your hellebores in late summer. This is the only way to replicate parental traits with certainty.

Read more about propagation here.


H. x hybridus may be expected to live for approximately 10 years in the right conditions.

You may remove old foliage in late fall to make room for spring growth. Large leaves will obscure the view of new growth. You may also apply a layer of mulch at this time.

Other than that, no fertilizer is required. Simply maintain your loamy soil, amending it as needed with rich organic material for a fertile growing medium. If acidity is a problem, an application of lime is the remedy.

Not sure what type of soil you have? It’s time to test it.

Pests and Diseases

Hellebores are generally healthy, with few issues.

However, when stressed, they are vulnerable to pests and disease. Inadequate summer shade may cause signs of dehydration like brown leaves. Left unaddressed, this will lead to the eventual drying out of the roots and death of the plant.

Disruption caused by dividing them may also cause stress. Be sure that they have adequate moisture and organic matter for sustenance.

And finally, there are some pests that may attack hellebores, including aphids and black spot. Apply organic insecticidal soap and snip off any misshapen or discolored leaves. Remember to sanitize scissors or pruners afterward.

The most serious threat is “Black Death.” Its telltale signs are stunted growth and black streaks. Unfortunately there is no treatment, and the plant must be removed from the garden.

It is speculated that the culprit, the Helleborus net necrosis virus, is transmitted by aphids. Therefore, some professionals feel that treating for aphids may be a losing proposition.

I have not experienced these issues with my hellebores. In addition, while I always use the words “deer resistant” with caution, I will say that the visiting deer have not eaten my plants.

By Any Other Name

Now that you know all about this great ornamental perennial, let’s take a quick look at the hybrid Lenten roses commonly available in markets today.

We know that in the wild Lenten rose is H. orientalis. However, the ones we find for sale are usually H. x hybridus. Hmm… sounds like a word you’d use when you’re not sure what the Latin name is, doesn’t it?

Why is it so… generic?

Well, when we purchase a plant that is native to another country, we are often not purchasing a true species, but rather a hybrid cultivar that has been bred for optimal color and performance in the US.

Hellebores are fascinating because even in their native land, a single species may exhibit a variety of characteristics. When breeders cross these already variable natives with other true species or hybrids, the result is a dazzling array of options.

The true Lenten rose, as it grows in its native land, is H. orientalis. However, the Lenten rose for sale in nurseries is most likely H. x hybridus, a catch-all name created by horticulturists to encompass the great variety of characteristics cultivars exhibit when they are propagated by seed.

Buying Options

A variety of options are available, and you may purchase plants in bloom, plants not in bloom, bare-root seedlings, plugs of germinated seeds, and packets of ungerminated seeds.

So, what’s the most economical way to get good plants and get started? Let’s compare the options:

Mature Potted Plants

Pots in bloom are the most expensive. They’ve spent at least 3 years or so in a nursery, and you’re going to pay for all that attention. However, while they are expensive, this is a sure way to know exactly what the flowers and foliage will look like.

You may also find mature plants that aren’t blooming, in which case you take a gamble on color, but may get a break in price.

Potted Seedlings

Potted seedlings are another option. Again, the less nursery time and the less color certainty, the better the price, in most cases.

Mixed Lenten Rose

Daylily nursery offers a set of 3 Containers of Mixed Lenten Rose in 4-Inch Pots. They are available on Amazon that may be great for getting started.

Bare-Root Seedlings

Bare-root seedlings have spent less time in the nursery and have barely achieved leaf characteristics. Again, these are cheaper, but with uncertainty as to bloom characteristics.

Germinated Seed Plugs

Plugs of germinated seeds are an even more reasonable investment for the budget-conscious because they have spent even less time in the nursery. However, there are no visible indications of the attributes your little sprouts will possess.

Ungerminated Seeds

The most inexpensive way to dip a toe into the potentially addictive hobby of hellebore cultivation is to buy ungerminated seeds, and to embrace variations in their characteristics at maturity.

One important note: Only very fresh hellebore seeds will germinate, so read the seed package to be sure they are from the current year’s harvest.

Ready to Grow

You can’t go wrong in terms of timing when it comes time to plant Lenten rose, because most products are offered for sale only when it’s appropriate to plant them.

If you order from catalogs, delivery is generally timed to suit your zone. Mature pots, seedlings, and plugs may be put into the ground from March through August. Loose seeds may be sown at any time.

Hellebores also grow well in containers.

Here’s how to get started in the garden:

1. Find a Suitable Location

Hellebores require loamy soil that is moist but drains well. They also do best beneath deciduous trees that provide at least partial shade in summer months.

2. Prepare the Soil

Remove grass, weeds, and debris. Work the soil to a friable (crumbly) consistency to a depth of at least six inches. Amend the soil as needed to achieve a balanced sand/clay/humus mixture.

Mound the soil up for each plant to promote drainage and make the nodding flowers a little easier to see.

3. Plant

For a mature potted plant, take note of its depth in the potting medium. You want to plant just as deep in your mounded soil. The root crown needs to be a bit above grade to prevent rotting.

Remove the plant from its pot. If the roots are tightly bound, gently tease them apart. Brush off the potting medium and place your bare-root plant into the soil, spreading the roots out and nestling the plant in securely. Tamp the soil down, water, and tamp again.

In addition to potted plants, you may purchase plugs containing germinated seeds. Be sure to plant them even with the top of the soil in your mounds.

And finally, you may buy un-germinated seeds. These take the longest to flower, as they must undergo a period of chilling and warming to germinate.

Once your plants are in the ground, you’ll need to be patient. Blooming potted plants should bloom again the following winter/spring. Seedlings and seeds need to reach maturity, and won’t bloom for two to three years.

Oh, but it’s worth the wait!

Hellebores are long-lived, and each year they get bigger and produce more flowers. You can expect at least 10 productive years for your investment, given proper soil and moisture in a hospitable location.

Hooked on Hellebores

My first experience with hellebores was over 20 years ago, when I discovered them in a gardening journal.

They were still very much in the domain of the horticultural elite at that time, and imported native species were showcased as ornamental specimens in elaborate landscape designs.

Once I fell under the spell of manipulating Mother Nature and growing flowers in winter, I wanted to learn more and sought expert guidance. I found it in Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide by C. Colston Burrell and Judith Knott Tyler. It’s available on Amazon.

The authors and photographer Richard Tyler have years of experience harvesting wild species and creating cultivars for home gardeners, which are sold at Pine Knot Farms in Virginia.

Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide

Currently, this is the definitive work on the 17 named hellebore species and their various subspecies.

Winter Wonders

Hellebores are an inspiration.

Their nodding heads seem demure and fragile, but their existence in a frozen landscape is a daring affront to Nature herself.

Cool, huh?

It’s time to take your garden full circle with bold flowers that bloom in the winter-to-spring transition season. We can’t wait to hear about them! Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

For more fall and winter inspired guides, check these out:

  • 11 Things to Do in the Garden Before Winter
  • How to Plant an Autumn Vegetable Garden
  • Why Autumn Is the Best Time for Planting Shrubs


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Product photos via Daylily Nursery and Timber Press. Uncredited photos: .

About Nan Schiller

Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project!

Lenten Rose Flower: Learn More About Planting Lenten Roses

Lenten rose plants (Helleborus x hybridus) are not roses at all but a hellebore hybrid. They are perennial flowers that derived their name from the fact that the blooms look similar to that of a rose. In addition, these plants are seen blooming in early spring, often during the Lent season. The attractive plants are fairly easy to grow in the garden and will add a nice splash of color to gloomy, dark areas.

Growing Lenten Rose Plants

These plants grow best in rich, well-draining soil that’s kept somewhat moist. They also prefer to be planted in partial to full shade, making them great for adding color and texture to dark areas of the garden. Since the clumps are low growing, many people like planting Lenten roses along walks or wherever edging may be needed. These plants are also great for naturalizing wooded areas as well as slopes and hillsides.

The Lenten rose flower will begin blooming in late winter to early spring, lighting the garden with colors that range from white and pink to red and purple. These flowers will appear at or below the plant’s leaves. After flowering has ceased, you can simply enjoy the attractive dark green foliage.

Lenten Rose Care

Once established in the landscape, Lenten rose plants are quite hardy, requiring little care or maintenance. In fact, over time these plants will multiply to create a nice carpet of foliage and springtime blooms. They’re also drought tolerant.

About the only downside to growing these plants is their slow propagation or recovery if disturbed. They generally do not require division and will respond slowly if this is performed.

While seeds can be collected in spring, they’re best used right away; otherwise, they will dry up and go dormant. The seeds will then require both warm and cold stratification before germination can occur.

Lenten Rose

Common names: Lenten Rose, Christmas Rose

Botanical name: Hellebore

Characteristics: Perennial Hellebores, in the Ranunculaceae – Buttercup family, are the stars of the late winter/early spring garden. In the south, they remain evergreen and prefer shade. Eastern European in origin, they are loved for their floral variety of spots and subtle coloring. A rugged and easy-to-grow plant, hellebore is lovely grouped under trees and shrubs or in a woodland garden.

Size: 18 to 24 inches tall and 24 to 30 inches wide

Flowers: Nodding flower clusters appear on thick stems above the foliage: flower color may be white, pink or light rose-purple, frequently with interior spotting.

Bloom time: Winter through early spring

Leaves: Palmate, serrate, thick, 8-16″ wide, glossy, basal, dark green leaves (7-9 leaflets).

Pests and Disease Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot and crown rot are occasional problems.

Growing in North Texas

Best grown in organically rich, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Propagate by division of the clumps (best in spring) and from seedlings which grow up around the plants. Very hardy and drought tolerant once established.

The Gardener’s Guide to Growing Hellebores, by Graham Rice and Elizabeth Strangman

USDA Plant Profile for Helleborus orientalis

Missouri Botanical Garden: Helleborus orientalis

Keywords (tags): Shade, perennial, winter flowering, evergreen

Hellebores are a long blooming perennial plant that needs very little in the way of maintenance but it does get a bit ragged looking at times of the year. Pruning hellebores will keep your Lenten rose looking its best all year long.

Find out how to go about pruning Lenten Rose.

What is a hellebore?

Hellebore is a herbaceous evergreen perennial plant that has delicate drooping flowers. The plant is known for its early blooming nature

Lenten rose otften flowers in the winter. It’s lovely to see the blooms peeking up above the white snow underneath. It is one of the first plants that tell us that spring is on the way.

The plants are a member of the family ranunculaceae. Common names for the plant are Christmas rose or Lenten Rose.

The flowers are so pretty and resemble wild roses that have opened up. It’s not uncommon to see it blooming around Christmas time here in zone 7b.

In colder hardiness zones, it will even break through frozen ground in very early spring.

Do you cut back hellebores?

All garden plants need pruning at some stage, and hellebores are no exception.

The flowers of Lenten Rose last a very long time in the garden, but the foliage needs a bit of TLC to keep the plant looking tidy.

The flowers sit above the plant and seem to keep their shape and look intact. However, the cold of winter and the damage that winter does to plants can make their leaves a mess.

Tips for Pruning Hellebores

The flowers of lenten rose are very subtle compared to many other perennials. Some of the tones are muted and seem to get hidden by the leaves. Some flowers are even the same shade of green as the leaves!

While the flowers, themselves, last a very long time on the plant, the leaves are another story. It’s not unusual to see perfectly formed flowers sitting on top of badly damaged leaves.

That just means it’s time to give the plant a hair cut!

Since the leaves of most hellebores are large, they can sort of “swallow up the flowers.” Removing the old, tattered leaves gives the plant a new lease on life and allows the flowers to shine.

When to prune hellebores

Depending on your growing zone, late winter or early spring is a good time to remove the old, dead leaves from the plant as the flower buds start to emerge.

If you wait until the plant is in full flower, you run the risk of damaging the pretty blooms.

The older, decayed leaves can also be a home for bacteria and fungal spores that can infect lenten rose plants and other planted that are nearby.

Any diseased growth should be pruned as soon as you see it so that it does not spread to surrounding plants.

Once you have pruned the plant, new leaves will grow up from the center and spread out as they grow larger.

Pruning hellebores is quite an easy task but you need the right tools. Be sure to use bypass pruners that are very sharp.

Hellebores also have small thorns, so wearing good gardening gloves is suggested.

As the growing season progresses, continue to prune off any damaged leaves to give the plant a more tidy look.

There are some plants that are very specific about when you should prune, but hellebores are forgiving plants. It won’t mind if you tidy it up all throughout the year!

Even though Hellebore is considered a late winter and early spring blooming plant, it is evergreen all year round, so I find myself pruning hellebores in summer months, too!

Deadheading hellebores flowers

One of the questions that I am often asked is “should I deadhead hellebores?” The short answer is yes, but the longer answer will be more pleasant to discover.

You’ll be delighted to see how long the flowers of a hellebore plant will last. I’ve had some of mine be in flower for months. But all good things do come to an end.

Deadheading hellebores is easy. Just remove the old flower stems when the start to decline. Cut them back to the base of the plant.

One exception is the Bear’s-foot Hellebore (H. foetidus) – also known as “stinking hellebore”. Since the stems carry the flower buds for the next season, you should leave these on the plant.

Remove flower heads before seeds set if you don’t want the plant to self seed.

Deadheading the flowers of hellebores allows the plant to use its energy towards producing new blooms, rather than trying to maintain the current flowers that are on the way out.

Some Hellebore plants have clusters of flowers that sit high above the plants. These stems can get very heavy and “droopy” on well established plants.

When the tops of this variety gets too unwieldy, it is a good time to deadhead hellebore, stems and all!

What to do with Lenten Rose seedlings

The drooping nature of the flowers of Hellebore plants will ensure that there are lots of tiny seedlings under the plant.

Hellebores set seed easily, and it’s not at all uncommon to see small seedlings around the mother plant.

If you leave these plants to grow naturally, the garden bed can become overgrown with the plants. A good idea is to dig up the seedlings and plant them in pots until they grow a bit bigger.

Once they have grown, you will have a ready supply of new hellebore plants for your own garden, or to give as gifts! Remember that the new seedlings might not look like the parent plant but will still have the characteristic Lenten Rose look to them.

You just might get a different color of flower, or slightly different leaf pattern.

Using Hellebore Flowers indoors

If you remove the flower stems before they set seed, you can bring them indoors. You will be delighted to discover just how long they will last in a vase of water indoors.

I’ve had some hellebore flowers last for up to a month at a time! When you consider how expensive cut flowers are, having some lenten rose indoors is a great way to enjoy the flowers inside, especially when the weather is colder.

A note on Hellebore toxicity

Care should be taken with pruned leaves and flowers from hellebores. All parts of the plant are poisonous if consumed, so keep them away from pets and children.

Lenten roses are ever green plants even though they only flower for part of the year. But with a bit of time spent pruning hellebore, your plants will continue looking good all year round.

Admin note: This post for hellebores pruning first appeared on the blog in December of 2017. I have updated the post to add more information and a video for you to enjoy.

Pin these tips for how to prune hellebores for later

Would you like a reminder of these suggestions for how to prune lenten rose? Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis)

• Zones 2–10, 14–24, 31–41
• Full sun in winter; partial to full shade for rest of year
• Regular watering

Lenten rose blooms late in winter, bearing nodding, 2-inch flowers in shades of whitish green, soft purple, or rose, often spotted with purple. The “petals” are actually sepals that shelter the tiny true flowers, which are nestled in the blossom center surrounded by a clump of yellow stamens.

These petal-like sepals remain on the plant for several months, long after the true flowers have faded and seeds have set. Leaves are large (to 1 foot across) and dark green, divided into five to 11 tooth-edged leaflets; they’re evergreen in mild-winter climates, though you may want to remove tattered foliage during fall cleanup. Both foliage and flower stems emerge from a central point; plants eventually form clumps about 2 feet tall and wide.

Grow Lenten rose in a spot that receives winter sun but is later shaded by deciduous trees or shrubs. It prefers rich, well-amended, neutral to alkaline soil. Don’t fertilize more than once or twice a year.

Lenten rose can be divided, but doing so is not recommended, since divided plants take several years to recuperate. However, plants self-sow readily―so to gain additional plants, simply let spent flowers go to seed.

Helleborus orientalis

  • Whole Plant Traits: Plant Type: Ground Cover Perennial Poisonous Leaf Characteristics: Broadleaf Evergreen Habit/Form: Clumping Erect Growth Rate: Rapid Maintenance: Low Texture: Coarse

  • Fruit: Fruit Description: Clustered, green, fleshy capsules, long-beaked, surrounded by persistent sepals.
  • Flowers: Flower Color: Cream/Tan Pink Purple/Lavender Red/Burgundy White Flower Inflorescence: Cyme Panicle Flower Value To Gardener: Long-lasting Showy Flower Bloom Time: Spring Winter Flower Shape: Saucer Flower Petals: 4-5 petals/rays Flower Size: 1-3 inches Flower Description: Beautiful harbingers of spring, with interesting, nodding solitary winter flowers, 2.5″ wide and saucer shaped. A stalked cyme or panicle, terminal, bracteated, often nodding; bracts gigantic, leaf-like, dark green, entire to sparsely toothed, +/- lobed. 1-many, usually greenish, tinted gold or brown, pink or purple, cup or bowl-shaped, nodding, 3-4″ dia; sepals 5, showy, pigmented, broadly ovate-elliptic; inner petal segments numerous, consisting of tubular nectaries, green to greenish-yellow, ephemeral; stamens numerous, anther yellow.
  • Leaves: Leaf Characteristics: Broadleaf Evergreen Leaf Color: Green Leaf Feel: Glossy Leathery Leaf Type: Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately) Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Margin: Denticulate Hairs Present: No Leaf Width: > 6 inches Leaf Description: Leathery, shiny, dark-green leaves palmately divided with 7-9 leaflets, edged with shallow teeth. Basal or cauline, palmately compound, coriaceous, glabrous; petiloes elongate, peltate; leaflets 3-9, irregularly toothed or serrate.
  • Stem: Stem Is Aromatic: No Stem Description: Stout, rhizomatous or exposed.
  • Landscape: Landscape Location: Container Naturalized Area Patio Woodland Landscape Theme: Shade Garden Winter Garden Resistance To Challenges: Deer Heavy Shade Pollution Poor Soil
  • Poisonous to Humans: Poison Severity: Low Poison Symptoms: Burning of mouth and throat, salivation, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nervous symptoms, depression; skin irritation after contact with cell sap Poison Toxic Principle: Protoanemonin suspected Causes Contact Dermatitis: Yes Poison Part: Bark Flowers Fruits Leaves Roots Seeds Stems

Lenten Roses Stock Photos and Images

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  • Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis)
  • A bouquet of flowers, including Lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis) and hyacinth
  • Rosy lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis), Emsland, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • Spring flowers of hellebore or lenten roses closeup
  • Lenten Roses – Hellebores
  • Lenten Rose Helleborus x hybridus
  • Helleborus × hybridus. White hybrid Lenten rose in flower in a winter garden in February, UK
  • Flower
  • Abundance of blooming Hellebores, also known as Lenten Roses forming a background of pink and mauve petals.
  • A selection of spring flowering Hellebore flowers also known as Lenten Roses or Christmas Roses
  • Hellebore
  • A high-key , studio image of the delicate and colourful Hellebore flowers also know as Lenten Roses, taken against a white background.
  • Lenten roses on vintage music sheets
  • Lenten Roses also known as Hellebore and/or Christmas Rose.
  • Lenten roses (hellebore) on old sheet music
  • Freshly picked, pink and purple hellebores and fritillaria against a coloured-in flowery picture
  • Lenten Rose ( Helleborus Orientalis ) close up view of pinky purple hellebore, showing the speckled pattern of petals interior.
  • Helleborus hybridus. Hellebore ‘Ice n Roses’. Lenten Rose. UK
  • A bouquet of flowers, including Lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis) and hyacinth
  • Rosy lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis), Emsland, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • Easter decoration pastel color with spring flower of Lenten roses
  • lenten roses
  • A Mauve Coloured Hybrid Of Lenten Rose Helleborus x hybridus
  • Farquhar’s catalogue of seeds 1900 : plants, bulbs tools fertilizers, sundries . 240 Snowball. Large, pure white, fragrant flowers . . .10 R. & J. FARQUHAR 6- CO.S SEED CATALOGUE. 51 Pkt. No. 4245 HELIPTERUn, nixed Colors. Pretty everlastingannuals with dense masses of white or yellow flowers; adapted to light soils. Height, one foot 05 HELLEBORUS. (Christmas and Lenten Roses.)Remarkably hardy plants, blooming from December toApril. In our climate they should be protected with aframe to prevent the flower buds being injured by frostor ice, and to promote full development of the flowers;perenni
  • Hellebores with backlighting
  • Helleborus × hybridus. White hybrid Lenten rose in flower in a winter garden in February, UK
  • Helleborus X hybridus Gone To Seed Taken In Stanley Park, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK
  • Wisteria arbor with slate walkway and pot of daffodil narcissus bordered by Lenten roses. Shot in early spring
  • Tortoiseshell-and-white Persian-cross kitten among Scillas and Lenten Roses.
  • Hellebore
  • lenten rose, helleborus orientalis
  • Lenten Rose Helleborus x hybridus
  • botany, heart with lenten rose blossoms, Caution! For Greetingcard-Use / Postcard-Use In German Speaking Countries Certain Restrictions May Apply
  • Spring flowering pink Hellebore flowers also known as Lenten rose or Christmas rose,.
  • Early flowering white flowers of Helleborus HGC Ice n’ Roses ‘White’, Helleborus COSEH 4500 plants surrounded by leaf litter
  • Helleborus hybridus. Hellebore ‘Ice n Roses’. Lenten Rose. UK
  • Close-up image of the pink Helleborus x hybridus ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’ flowers commonly known as the Lenten rose or Christmas Rose
  • Rosy lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis), Emsland, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • Flower creative arrangement wreath of hellebores or lenten roses over light wood
  • Helleborus (Lenten Rose)
  • Hellebore flower (Christmas rose) isolated on white
  • Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis)
  • Helleborus x Glandorfensis, Hellebore INR (Ice ‘n Roses) ‘Rose’, HGC (Helleborus Gold Collection)
  • Helleborus × hybridus. White hybrid Lenten rose in flower in a winter garden in February, UK
  • Close-up, High-key image of the spring flowering Hellebore x Hybrida ‘Tutu’ flowers against a white background
  • Hellebore-1
  • Helleborus x hydridus, a hybrid hellebore with speckl;ed petals, in flower in a an English garden in early February, UK
  • Hellebore
  • lenten rose, helleborus orientalis
  • Asiago plateau, Cristmas roses
  • lenten rose, helleborus orientalis
  • botany, heart with lenten rose blossoms, Caution! For Greetingcard-Use / Postcard-Use In German Speaking Countries Certain Restrictions May Apply
  • Helleborus HGC Ice n’ Roses ‘Red’ Hellebore
  • Early flowering white flowers of Helleborus HGC Ice n’ Roses ‘White’, Helleborus COSEH 4500 plants surrounded by leaf litter
  • Helleborus hybridus. Hellebore ‘Ice n Roses’. Lenten Rose. UK
  • Helleborus orientalis hybridus ‘Havington Red’ dark pink Lenten Rose.
  • Rosy lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis), Emsland, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • Vintage background with lenten roses or hellebore flowers in a row on wooden
  • White Helleborus
  • Pretty Hellebore flowers floating in water. Also known as Lenten Rose, Winter Rose and even Christmas Rose.
  • Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis)
  • Helleborus x Glandorfensis, Hellebore INR (Ice ‘n Roses) ‘Rose’, HGC (Helleborus Gold Collection)
  • Helleborus × hybridus. Dark pink hybrid Lenten rose in flower in a winter garden in February, UK
  • High-key image of the beautiful spring flowers of Helleborus ‘TuTu’ also known as the Lenten rose, taken against a white background
  • A Beautiful Cluster of Pink Helleborus Orientalis Christmas Rose Flowers in a Garden near Carnforth Lancashire England United Kingdom UK
  • Helleborus x hydridus, a hybrid hellebore with speckl;ed petals, in flower in a an English garden in early February, UK
  • Home and garden; notes and thoughts, practical and critical, of a worker in both . to establishgood rule in place of oppression; whose work is to cleanse the land, to clear the dark places and letin the law ? And so throughout our gardens there are manyplants which are not botanically either Roses or Lilies,but because they are beautiful, and have a form thatsomewhat recalls that of these two kinds of flov/ers,the words Rose and Lily, with some other, either de-scriptive or qualifying, make up their popular name.So Ave have Christmas Rose and Lenten Rose for theflowers of the Hellebore family
  • Nieswurz; Lenzrose, Christrose
  • Asiago plateau, Cristmas roses
  • lenten rose, helleborus orientalis
  • Nieswurz; Lenzrose, Christrose
  • Helleborus HGC Ice n’ Roses ‘Red’ Hellebore
  • Helleborus Brandywine Mix of colors and types, variety of flower types of hellebores plants
  • Close-up of pale yellow hellebores
  • Helleborus orientalis pink Lenten Rose Hellebore Winter Spring flowering perennial.
  • hellebores in front of bench spring
  • Spring easter flower frame vintage background with lenten roses flowers over light wood
  • White Helleborus
  • White Hellebore flowers
  • Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis)
  • Hellebore HGC Ice ‘n Roses ‘Rosado’, Helleborus HGC INR, Helleborus x Glandorfensis, Hellbore (Helleborus Gold Collection)
  • Helleborus × hybridus. Pink and white Hybrid Lenten rose in flower in a winter garden in February, UK
  • Helleborus Flowers
  • A Beautiful Cluster of Pink Helleborus Orientalis Christmas Rose Flowers in a Garden near Carnforth Lancashire England United Kingdom UK
  • Helleborus x hydridus, a hybrid hellebore with speckl;ed petals, in flower in a an English garden in early February, UK
  • . Florists’ review . Floriculture. 98 The Florists’ Review FirBKUARY 25, 1015. rOKT WAYNE, IND. The Market. Business for the last two weeks has been rushing. St. Valentine’s day brought a volume of business which kept all the florists hustling. Not only were flowers ordered for valentines, but decorations for valentine and an- nouncement parties were in demand. The pre-lenten festivities were numer- ous, all requiring floral decorations. Funeral work has been plentiful and the florists are all reporting splendid business. The stock of flowers has been large and varied. Roses are of
  • Lenten rose blooming outdoors on Sunny Day in Springtime
  • a single pink Christmas rose, in the sunshine, with green foliage
  • purple hellebore, Helleborus purpurascens
  • Nieswurz; Lenzrose, Christrose
  • Helleborus HGC Ice n’ Roses ‘Red’ Hellebore
  • purple hellebore, Helleborus purpurascens
  • White hellebore lenten roses bloom conservatory garden during the Christmas season at Allan Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canadacol
  • Helleborus orientalis pink Lenten Rose Hellebore Winter Spring flowering perennial.
  • Christmas rose, Helleborus niger
  • Easter decoration with spring flowers over natural wooden background. Purple and green Lenten roses top view
  • Christmas rose, Helleborus niger

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Lenten Rose, Hellebore

Lenten rose is one of the earliest, if not the earliest, perennial to flower in the garden. These evergreen beauties are easy to grow and no self-respecting shade garden should be without several clumps.

Description of lenten rose: Deeply divided, palmate evergreen leaves grow from a thick rootstock, producing nodding flowers that appear in late winter or early spring. Flowers easily last for 8 to 10 weeks and are either whitish or plum-colored. Plants grow 15 inches tall and wide.


How to grow lenten rose: Lenten rose grows easily in deep, well-drained soil with plenty of humus and partial shade. It likes consistent moisture and alkaline soil. Plants are slow to establish but are long-lived after the second year. At low temperatures, some protection is needed against drying wind. A light mulch of ground oak leaves helps keep the evergreen leaves looking good through winter. If leaves are damaged, prune them off in late winter to make way for fresh growth.

Propagating lenten rose: By digging and replanting small seedlings that appear at the base of two- to three-year-old plants.

Uses for lenten rose: The foliage alone is worth growing and makes an excellent ground cover. Lenten rose can also be effectively mixed in with hosta, ferns, brunnera, and heuchera in shaded gardens. Flowers are good for cutting.

Lenten rose related species: Helleborus foetidus, bearsfoot hellebore, is hardy to growing Zone 5 and has deeply divided, narrow, dark green leaflets. Light green nodding flowers bloom in early spring. Plants grow 18 to 24 inches tall and 18 inches wide.

Scientific name for lenten rose: Helleborus orientalis

Want more gardening information? Try:

  • Perennial Flowers: Find out more about how to grow and care for perennial flowers, which come in all thinkable shapes, sizes and colors.
  • Annual Flowers: Learn more about annuals and their glorious, must-have summer colors.
  • Perennials: Discover many species of flowers that will return year after year to the diligent gardener.
  • Gardening: Read our helpful articles and get tips and ideas for your garden.

Lenten Rose

These spectacular little plants become more popular every year, and no wonder. They thrive in shade, are perfectly hardy, and have lovely flowers in endless colors and color combinations. The 2-3 flowers begin blooming in late winter or very early spring.

Hellebores demand good humusy soil and partial or full shade, much like many of our woodland wildflowers. Lots of gardeners use them in pots on shady patios. The plants usually stay around a foot in height, and the stunning flowers often last for months, so be sure to site them where you’ll enjoy the bloom.

These are evergreen plants in warmer climates, so if you live in a heavy winter area, you may want to pot your Lenten Roses and bring them into a protected place during the coldest months.

You may have also heard of the Christmas Rose. Its another species of Hellebore, and blooms during the winter.

More Info: There is a nursery in West Virginia named Sunshine Farm and Garden, operated by the Lenten Rose guru, a guy named Barry Glick. They are the true experts, and a visit to their fascinating website will tell you all you need to know: Sunshine Farm & Garden

More Information



Common Name

Lenten Rose or Hellebore

Botanical Name

Helleborus orientalis


4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Light Requirements

Half Sun / Half Shade, Full Shade

Mature Height

12-18″ tall

Estimated Mature Spread

12-18″ wide

Bloom Time

Late winter to mid spring

Planting Depth

Crown of plant should rest just at or above the soil surface after watering in.

Ships As

Potted Plant

Soil Type

Sandy Soil, Loamy Soil, Clay Soil

Soil Moisture

Average, Well Draining


Bee Friendly, Deer Resistant, Good For Cut Flowers

Planting Time

Spring / Summer

Item Unit


Ships to Hawaii, Alaska & Canada


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