We love plants and we particular love new plants that are an improvement on older varieties. This winter we are excited about four new white Hellebores. Many people have heard of the Christmas Rose, which actually isn’t a rose but a Hellebore called Helleborus niger.
Helleborus niger has been around for years but unfortunately for much of the cooler parts of the country doesn’t flower for Christmas.
Enter ‘Joel’, ‘Joshua’, ‘Jonas’ and their odd brother ‘Wintergold’. These new Helleborus varieties not only flower from early winter but produce many more flowers. These breeds also produce flowers that are more upright and showy so you can see inside the flower. With Helleborus ‘Wintergold’ the stamens in the middle are pronounced and golden so it’s good to see them. Their original parent the Christmas Rose had flowers that often hung down.
Plant breeders can be funny people. They are very picky, have great perseverance and patience. This series of Hellebores is collectively called ‘Helleborus Gold Collection. And are the result of over 100,000 seedling produced and 99.9999% being rejected.
These great plants are suited to moisture retentive soils that drain freely and will grow in shade or part shade. The form tight clumps of foliage and flower to a height of about 30cm (12”). You can grow them in pots for the patio or front door step. They combine well planted with holly and ivy too.
The Dutch also use the Christmas Rose as an indoor windowsill plant where it flowers intensely for weeks.