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Herbaceous Perennial

Helleborus purpurascens
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

purple-flowered Christmas rose

A compact, clump forming, deciduous perennial up to 25-30cm high. The distinctive green leaves are hairy when young, each of the leaflets separates from the top of the leaf stalk almost at one point. The first rich purple or pinkish purple flowers start opening at ground level in December and it will continue to flower until March.

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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 Purple Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter Purple
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or West–facing or South–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Ranunculaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
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
EC Europe

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How to grow

Cultivation

Grown in moisture retentive neural to alkaline soil that is not prone to drying out. Best planted in a sunny position or light shade. Improve lighter soil with organic matter such as garden compost or a manure-based soil conditioner prior to planting. Mulch annually in spring. For more details, see hellebore cultivation.

Propagation

Propagate by division in early autumn or in early spring after flowering. Propagate by seed as soon as ripe and keep in a coldframe.

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

Remove faded leaves in late summer/autumn.

Pests

May be susceptible to hellebore aphis, slugs and snails.

Diseases

May be susceptible to hellebore black death, hellebore leaf spot, grey moulds (botrytis) and virus diseases.

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