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Buyer beware (or Buyer understand)

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 Many of you may see hellebores like these being offered as loss leaders at grocery stores throughtout the country. These plants can be great value if treated properly. The main thing to remember is that although hellebores are hardy plants the plants being offered have been grown in a heated greenhouse and have not been exposed to freezing temperatures. You may plant them out in the garden now in California and warm southern regions but in other areas they must db hardened off just as one would small plants in early spring.

Also, beware advice from store clerks. A lady telephone us a couple of years ago to ask if I could help her figure out why here hellebores were turning yellow. Narrowing it down it turned out that the sales person told her to water the plant every day, never to let it dry out. So she had been doing the one thing guaranteed to kill hellebores, drowning them.

If you want to enjoy your plants inside it is best to keep them in a cool, brightly lit place, water them as the soil drys out. They can be acclimated to garden in spring, as it is probably too late in most areas of the country to get them rooted into your garden soil. 

The photograph on the label shows the flowers of many of the new hellebores from Germany that are produced by tissue culture. While most of these plants are sterile, the plants we saw for sale are not. They are the actual Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger and if fertilized they will produce viable seed. The bees were certainly enjoying theses plants; an early Christmas gift.


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