• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Helleborus lividus

blue-grey hellebore

blue-grey hellebore

© RHS 2003

  • Other common names blue-grey hellebore
    purple hellebore

  • Family Ranunculaceae

  • 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

  • Details H. lividus is an evergreen perennial to 45cm with biennial stems bearing leaves composed of three bluish-green marbled leaflets. Nodding, pale pinkish-green flowers 3-5cm in width are borne in open clusters from mid winter

  • Plant range Balearics


  • Foliage Evergreen

  • Habit Bushy

  • Toxicity Ingestion may cause severe discomfort

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)




  • Partial Shade

  • Aspect South-facing or East-facing

  • Exposure Sheltered


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • MoistureMoist but well-drained

  • SoilChalk, Loam, Clay

  • pHAlkaline, Neutral


  • Ultimate height 0.1-0.5 metres

  • Ultimate spread 0.1-0.5 metres

  • Time to ultimate height 2-5 years

How to grow

Cultivation Grow in neutral to alkaline soil in dappled shade. In frost-prone areas, best grown in a cold greenhouse

Propagation Propagate by seed sown in pots in a cold frame as soon as seed is ripe

Suggested planting locations and garden types Flower borders and beds Low Maintenance Underplanting of Roses and Shrubs City & Courtyard Gardens Cottage & Informal Garden Wildflower meadow

How to care

Pruning Remove faded or damaged foliage as the flowers appear

Pests Hellebore aphid and snails may be a problem

Diseases May be subject to hellebore leaf spot and hellebore black death

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