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.
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.
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. but will grow well in higher or lower ph numbers. 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.
Do not worry if the new growth of you plants appears to be pale or yellowish, especially when planting in fall. The colour difference is caused by a transient nutrient difficiency and the plant will outgrow this and the leaves will change to normal green in a few weeks.
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.
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.