I allowed all our blown leaves to cuddle with the hellebores I planted in bloom last spring. I appreciated the protection given by the leaves, but I was confused about how dried up the foliage was.
Now that the weather is a little milder I decided to clear away all the protective leaves. This little bed lies right below our Lilac Tree. I had planted several hellebores in bloom last spring which was wonderful, but I was confused about seeing all the dying foliage this year. When I began to rake away the leaves I was stunned to find tiny clumps of blossoms.
Four of the hellebores have been given charming names suggesting a wedding. Helleborus “Ivory Prince” “Maid of Honor”, “First Dance”, and “Blushing Bridesmaid” are all from Wedding Party group. “Ivory Prince” is the hellebore that really surprised me because it already has a bloom and more visible buds. “Ivory Prince” is the farthest along.
Having raked off many of the leaves I began to worry. Some of those big leaves were green and looked healthy, ready to continue. But there were also still big brown leaves. Were some leaves meant to continue? No! All the leaves had to be cut away. The plant will grow and show off its flowers first and the foliage will follow right behind.
This photo gives a little more information about the growth of the plant. Now that I understand all old foliage should be cut back I will watch growth carefully.
For more information about Hellebores you can look to Garden Design. While Hellebores are quite healthy, they may occasionally suffer from disease, but you can turn to Gardener’s Path.
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How delightful to find these hidden spring gems!
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Joriejo – I was certainly surprised – and very happy. I am watching the hellebores closely.
I’m glad I left the dried old leaves on my hellebores this spring- we’ve have four nights in a row below freezing so I hope they gave some protection with the leaf litter they hold close around the plant. Tomorrow when our weather gets milder I’m going to go out and do some cleanup to enjoy seeing the blooms better!
Jeane – I cleaned up a lot of the leaves around my hellebores – and now my fingers are crossed because it is cold again. Hellebores are strong plants and I hope continue.
Yes, cutting back the old hellebore foliage is a yearly chore done in late winter. You’ll be rewarded with fresh green leaves and flowers.
Robin – I wish I had known you re hellebores before I became anxious what I was messing up. But now I am on the track and the flowers are beginning to surprise me.