Helleborus Orientalis (Lenten Rose)

joy4me(z6 NY)May 28, 2006

How do you think this would do as a container plant?

As a harbinger of Spring, I would like to have this on the porch so that we may appreciate it when in bloom. My gardens are are below and we would only see this plant as we pass by it. If on the porch, we could appreciate it from indoors also.

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

I'm growing one in a container right now. Just bought it this spring. Wanted some evergreen perennials to look at (already have a heuchera that breezed through winter and is blooming now). Right now, they are pretty much done, although a few dried looking flowers are on it. This is what they looked like a few weeks after I got them and potted them to a larger container:

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 8:38AM
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joy4me(z6 NY)

Hi Jenny;

Thanks for the quick response. I finially found LR after years of looking in local nurseries and this year they seem to be all around at reasonable prices. I have 2 in ground and thought to have the third where I could appreciated on the porch. I'm just not sure it will take the winter in a container.

Yours looks lovely and healthy. I'm sure it will bring you much pleasure.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 8:21PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

These (H. orientalis aka H. x hybridius) are supposed to be hardy to Zone 4 so they should do fine in pots for anyone Zone 5/6 and higher, where a good rule of thumb is to look for plants 1 - 2 zones colder than where you are. The fact that yours would be on a porch actually gives it a degree of added protection and would allow you to move it if need be. I plan to probably let it get snowed on like my heucheras, peonies, redtwig dogwood, asiatic lilies, lily of the valley, et. al, did this past winter....LOL:

I recall reading some websites on them and what was mentioned is that they have been a staple in Europe but only recently have become popular and more available in the U.S. There's even a Hellebore Forum on GW too.

What got me to finally try them was that one of my mother's former neighbors (who recently moved) had some planted out in a patch of soil between sidewalk blocks where a street tree once stood. For several years, I was entranced by the clumps of evergreen foliage that would be yearly dumped on by successive winter storms with over a foot of snow, yet there it was in March, sending up sturdy blooms. I finally confirmed what they were this year and when I saw some at one of the nurseries here, I decided to go for it. I had seen them in the past at some specialty nurseries, but wasn't interested then. But now that I have been adding more perennials to supplement my shrubs, it fits in nicely as an early bloomer! Note that everything I have on my balcony is in containers - trees, shrubs, vines, and various flowering perennials.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 8:52AM
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rain1950(W. WA z8)

I bought 1 gallon Hellebores this winter and we had a period in Feb. with 12 degree temps. They never missed a beat. You didn't mention sun exposure, but they are definite shade lovers.Too much sun will burn the leaves.

One variety was selected as Perennial of the Year in 2005, so they became more available; even WalMart had them this year.

So far they are still in the 1 gallon pots and thriving, but beginning to get crowded; I have to create a shady area for them. I would say from what I've seen that they would likely be content in a 16" or larger pot.

Another great plant that also stays evergreen thru the winter is the Cape Fuschias and they come in several great colors.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 11:19AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

While many hellebores do very well in containers, the exception is Lenten rose (or hybridus), which is not well suited to long term growing in pots because of its long root system. It may 'tolerate' long term containerizing, but I grow around 100 from seed purchased each year from a breeder - they do well in pots until the second year, then grow like gangbusters after being planted in the ground, often beginning to bloom at 18 months old. Something other than a hybrid orientalis might make you happier.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hellebores containers

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 12:10PM
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joy4me(z6 NY)

Hi everyone;

Thanks so much for all the input. I'm encouraged to try the container with one of my Helleborus and see how it does. I live in a wooded area with quite a bit of shade, so I'm OK there. If this works, I'll be getting a lot more. This is the first year I have seen Helleboruse sold in my area, especially at so reasonable a price. I'm really excited by this and hope to see more of these lesser known plants sold here next season.

Thanks again for your help!!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 10:30AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

joy4me - go on and experiment and see what happens. Given the correct cultural practices, you might be surprised. Everything on my balcony that has been there for the past decade is not "supposed" to grow in a container because someone "said so" and didn't bother trying by experimenting and adjusting for the environment and practicing root pruning, etc. Trees with long tap roots that dwarf anything produced by a hellebore, are routinely grown in containers for bonsai - some having done so for a century or more, but I suppose that's how it goes in the gardening world. ;-)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 10:46AM
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