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Herbaceous Perennial

Helleborus orientalis Lam. subsp. orientalis
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

H. orientalis subsp. orientalis is a clump-forming perennial to about 45cm with tough, leathery leaves deeply divided into seven or nine leaflets. From mid-winter to mid-spring produces large, nodding, cup-shaped, white flowers, often with cream or green shading and a large boss of pale yellow stamens

Synonyms
Helleborus orientalis Lam. olympicus
Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring White Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter White Green
Position
  • Full shade
  • Partial shade
Aspect

North–facing or East–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Ranunculaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Clump forming
Potentially harmful
Ingestion may cause severe discomfort
Genus

Helleborus can be rhizomatous, herbaceous or semi-evergreen perennials forming a clump of pedate basal leaves, or evergreen with erect, leafy stems. Large, bowl-shaped flowers are borne in loose clusters in late winter or spring

Name status

Correct

How to grow

Cultivation

Will tolerate a wide range of conditions, but does best in fertile, moisture-retentive, humus-rich but well-drained soil which is preferably heavy, and neutral or alkaline, in a position with shelter from strong, cold winds and in dappled shade; for more advice, see hellebore cultivation

Propagation

Propagate by division of large clumps in early spring, watering well until they are established

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Low Maintenance
  • Banks and slopes
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
Pruning

spring to show off flowers and help prevent hellebore leaf spot; deadhead by removing old, faded flower stems

Pests

May be affected by slugs, snails, hellebore aphid, hellebore leaf miner, chafers, vine weevil and mice

Diseases

May be affected by hellebore black death, hellebore leaf spot, downy mildews, grey moulds (botrytis), smuts, and virus diseases

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