Helleborus × hybridus Harvington double chocolate
Lenten rose hellebore
- available to order from autumn
- 2 litre pot
This perennial is semi-evergreen so it can lose some of its leaves in winter. In colder regions or more exposed gardens, it may lose them all, but then fresh new growth appears again in spring.
- Position: partial shade
- Soil: heavy, neutral to alkaline soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: February to April
- Hardiness: frost hardy (may need winter protection)
This recently introduced cultivar has already created a bit of a stir among gardening circles with its delicious-looking, chocolate-coloured flowers. These many-petalled, saucer-shaped blooms appear above the leathery, deep green leaves from February to April. This lenten rose creates a stunning ground cover for areas of dappled shade under deciduous trees and shrubs. Try mixing it with a lime green, spring-flowering Euphorbia for a stunning combination. Like all hellebores, they prefer a heavy, neutral to alkaline soil.
- Garden care: Add lots of well-rotted leaf mould or organic matter to the planting hole. Cut the old leaves back down to the ground in January or February as this will show off the new emerging flowers to best effect. It will also help to get rid of foliar diseases such as Hellebore leaf spot. Apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted organic matter around the base of the plant in autumn and provide a top-dressing of general fertiliser each spring. Cut off the seed heads to prevent inferior seedlings colonising.