Helleborus niger blooms through winter. The Christmas Rose!

Helleborus niger blooms through winter. The Christmas Rose!

I was interested so see how a foot of snow combined with frigid temperatures would effect Helleborus niger. This cultivar starts blooming in November, where as H. orientalis starts pushing up buds soon.

Helleborus niger starts blooming in November and has persisted all winter despite a foot of snow and frigid temperatures. Photos by Doug Oster

I found them during the holiday season in 2019, where they were sold as indoor plants in December, meant to be discarded when finished blooming. H. niger is one of my favorite perennials for it’s bloom time, evergreen foliage and toughness.

As the flowers age, they go from white to a deep pink, maybe even light purple.

They wintered over in an unheated greenhouse and were planted last spring, later than they should have been. I lost a few to heat and drought, but the plants that survived have persisted. I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only were the blooms still there, a few were young with their white petals in tact. There’s a certain beauty to the older flowers that fade to deep pink. It’s fun to have a winter plant to enjoy before the spring season is upon us.

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