Hellebores 

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Dick and Cole Burrell  and I are very proud that our book on hellebores won the AHS Book of the Year. Click on the Amazon link below for information
The second link is to a great new book by our daughter Helen Kraus and Ann Spafford.

Gruesome threesome at work


  
  
  
 

              Care of Hellebores        

Upon receiving shipment
Please unpack your shipment of Hellebore plants as soon as you receive them. While we always do our best packing your shipment, there are forces of nature that we cannot control, shipping company employees who believe all boxes should be thrown, for instance. If the box is damaged or appears to have suffered from unusual stress photograph it before opening then photograph the contents if damaged and inform both Pine Knot Farms and the shipping agent. Since we usually ship U.P.S. the shipping agent would be the driver who delivers your package. Unpack the plants and remove all  of the paper and packing materials, check these for labels that may have been shaken loose during transit. Make sure any dry pots or cells are well watered since these can dry out during shipment. 

Potting or planting in the garden
 
Please check your plants to determine if any fungal problems have developed during shipment and treat with a good quality fungicide if necessary. Place plants in a well ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Water in and give them a few days to acclimate to their new surroundings. If you are putting your plants in pots we recommend that plants be put into a container approximately twice the size of the root ball, i.e. cells into a one (1) quart pot. Hellebores in containers need to be monitored very carefully to insure that they do not dry out or get over watered. 
We feel that more plants are killed by too much water than by any other cause.

Hellebores are drought tolerant

    If planting directly in the garden remember that hellebores require a well drained site, so planting on a slope is good. If you don't have a hillside or sloping land a berm (soil mound that is several inches higher than the surrounding area) will usually suit them quite well. The soil should be prepared as for any long lived shrub or perennial, it's much easier to prepare soil before planting than to try to amend soil afterward. If the soil is very heavy clay amendments such as composted pine bark or other material will help loosen the soil to allow moisture to pass through the soil. Hellebores seem to grow best in soil that with a ph between 5.5 and 6.5. We don't recommend amending soil without a soil test, but usually applying a moderate amount of lime in the form of ground dolomitic limestone won't hurt, especially in acidic soils.
Be careful not to plant the plants either too high or too low, but keep crown just below soil line.
too high

We cut back the old foliage on our plants just before bloom, we think it helps keep disease problems down and it makes the blooms show up better. before           after

Hellebores are usually problem free, but occasionally in summer when we get the muggies  for days on end we see signs of a fungal disease commonly called Southern Blight or Mustard Seed Fungus. If problems occur treat with any registered fungicide. Southern Blight

                               
Pine Knot Farms
681 Rockchurch Road
Clarksville Virginia, 23927
phone 434-252-1990        fax 434-252-0768