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Herbaceous Perennial

Helleborus niger
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

Christmas rose

H. niger is a semi-evergreen perennial to 30cm, with pedately lobed, leathery, dark green leaves and 1-3 pure white or pink-flushed white, bowl-shaped flowers up to 8cm in width

Other common names
bear's foot
black hellebore
see morebrumal rose
Christmas plant
Christopher's herb
Christ's herb
clove-tongue
St Agnes' rose

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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 Pink White Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter Pink White Green
Position
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or North–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Ranunculaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Semi evergreen
Habit
Clump forming
Potentially harmful
Ingestion may cause severe discomfort, skin irritant. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
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

Plant range
Europe, SW Asia

How to grow

Cultivation

Thrives in neutral to alkaline soils that are moist, fertile and humus-rich, ideal for heavy clay in partial shade. Provide shelter from strong, cold winds. Mulch annually in autumn

Propagation

Propagate by seed in pots in a cold frame as soon as seed is ripe or propagate by division after flowering in early spring or late summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Cut flowers
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
Pruning

Remove faded or damaged foliage as the flowers appear

Pests

Prone to hellebore aphid and snails

Diseases

May be affected by hellebore leaf spot and a virus

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