Helleborus Foetidus

How do I care for my Helleborus Foetidus?
Helleborus is an easy-care compact plant. It can grow to a height of 60 centimetres. Because it naturally grows in humus rich (slightly calciferous) soil, it is best if you use this type of fertilizer. The Helleborus will benefit most from this when you do it in the autumn before it flowers. If you want to plant this plant in open ground, it is best to add some humus rich potting mix to its soil in your garden. After flowering, the Foetidus forms its seeds inside of its flower bunches. If you do not want the Foetidus to spread throughout your garden, it is best to cut off these flower bunches. It would do very nicely in a natural, somewhat more unruly garden!
What is the best location for this spring Rose?
The Helleborus is native to mountain and forest areas. Because it is a relatively small plant, it gets little summer sun in those locations while all of the larger plants and trees around it are in full leaf. During the autumn, when they all lose their leaves, this winter flowering plant gets sun/semi-shade. Fallen leaves offer direct protection and nutrients; so it is fine to leave these on the ground! You can copy the natural habitat of the Helleborus quite easily in your own garden. Make sure that the soil is not too acidic and well-draining. Helleborus Foetidis will not grow well in soil that is too wet.
Where does the Helleborus come from?
The natural habitat of the Helleborus Foetidus is closer to home than most other Helleborus-varieties. The Foetidus is found in the Belgian and French Ardennes region, but also in Germany and England. This Helleborus is quite different from most of the other varieties in our Hello, Helleborus ® assortment. Its leaves are narrow and deeply carved and resemble those of a palm or fern. Its flowers attract many bees in early spring.

When does this Helleborus flower?
The Helleborus Foetidus already starts flowering in December. Its attractive flowers stay beautiful into March. Because the Helleborus flowers in the winter and in early spring, it is a most attractive plant for bees that are waking from their winter sleep. It is truly a bee attracting plant! The Helleborus belongs to the perennials. This is remarkable because unlike most perennials these winter flowering plants stay beautifully green during the winter. They are even at their beautiful best during that time!

Can I prune the Helleborus Foetidus?
Generally speaking, there is no need to prune your Helleborus. Because Helleborus is evergreen, its older leaves will often become less fresh looking or quite large. You can just cut these leaves away to let new fresh leaves develop. It is best to do this before it flowers anyway to let its flowers reach their maximum beauty. Because its buds grow as a stem, it is best to cut the Foetidis back a little more. It is best to cut back its dead flower stems down to the ground. This keeps the Helleborus Foetidis compact and green.
Is this Helleborus suitable as cut flower?
The Foetidis can certainly be used as a cut flower. It has many flowers at the end of its strong stems. The leaf at the base of these stems is easy to remove. The Foetidis works well as part of natural floral arrangements. These flowers are a little less striking than those of the Helleborus Niger or Orientalis.
  • Winter hardiness:
    Good

  • Soil type:
    Humus rich, slightly calcareous and well-draining

  • Moisture levels:
    Normal, not too wet

  • Location:
    Semi-shade

  • Height:
    To 60 cm

  • Evergreen or deciduous:
    Evergreen

  • Pruning:
    Cut off old or diseased leaves and after flowering, cut back dead stems down to the ground.

  • Fertilizing:
    In spring and/or autumn using calcium and/or humus

  • Flower:
    Flower bunches that attract early bees

  • Flowering period:
    December – April

  • Trivia:
    Helleborus Foetidus spreads its seeds after flowering. To prevent this from happening you can cut off its flower bunches before its seeds are dispersed.

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