Although they are immediately attracted to them, many gardeners are eventually dissatisfied with Christmas roses (Helleborus niger). First, so few of them actually flower at Christmas. They also have a tendency to fade away after a few years and they all look pretty much the same, there’s none of the impressive range of colours and flower forms that we see in other hellebores. Well, ‘Snow Frills’* solves most of those problems.
First of all, ‘Snow Frills’ is one of a series developed in Germany specifically to flower in late autumn and early winter; so, unless the weather is exceptionally bad, it will be in full bloom at Christmas – and that’s without any special protection.
Second, it’s more robust and more prolific than the unnamed plants so often seen in nurseries and garden centres. Finally, although like other Christmas roses the flowers are pure white, as you can see from the picture ‘Snow Frills’ has double flowers, which are more intriguing and last longer than single flowers.
Plant ‘Snow Frills’ in partial shade in fertile but well-drained soil and mulch every autumn. For an indoor Christmas display I’d also suggest keeping a plant in a cold and well-ventilated greenhouse, or in a sheltered place outside. This is not to bring the plant into flower early, but to protect it from rain splash so the flowers are pristine when you bring it inside for Christmas.
You can order plants of Helleborus niger ‘Snow Frills’ from Coolings Online, from Premium Perennials and from Woolmans.
* NB: This plant is properly called Helleborus niger HGC Snow Frills = 'Coseh 230' ('Coseh 230' is the cultivar name, 'HGC Snow Frills' is the preferred selling name). For the purpose of readability it is referred to here simply as 'Snow Frills'.
** Please note the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and are not necessarily those of the RHS **