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Growing Helleborus from seed

Winter flowering Helleborus are surprisingly easy to grow from seed. A highly rewarding long flowering perennial – attractive in the garden all year round.

Helleborus from seedThe Helleborus is by far my favourite Winter perennial. It produces highly attractive, quite often large glossy dark foliage throughout the year, crowd with exquisite flowers in many colours including pale green. The flowers seem to last for an eternity and later produce large seed heads, ready for harvesting to propagate new plants. It is worth noting that both the plant and the seeds are poisonous, so should be avoided if you have young children.

Helleborus are very easy to grow from seed and extremely rewarding as many varieties flower during the winter months. Although they reasonably trouble-free, having and well-drained soil with plenty of added compost or manure will yield the best out of your plants. Helleborus are also fairly drought tolerant.

Sowing your Helleborus seeds

This is a very easy way to get new Helleborus plants. Growing from seed is a simple affair, although it will take several years from sowing until the plants are ready to flower. There have been a number of times in the past where I have sown Helleborus seeds, completely forgotten about them, only to find glossy young plants the following season – very tough indeed!

  1. Collect your seed and sow straight away, fresh from the plant. It may take many months for germination to occur, so be patient.
  2. Sow in pots or trays, about 1/4 of an inch under the compost and firm. I always sprinkle a handful or two of grit over the compost to conserve moisture.
  3. Don’t over water, but ensure that the compost remains slightly moist.
  4. Place the pots or trays in your garden. I tend to place them near a successful Helleborus plant, as a way of guaranteeing the best conditions. Protect young seedlings from slug attacks.

Varieties of Helleborus to try

Helleborus corsicus Pacific Frost

The best variegated Helleborus from seed! The stunning foliage, dappled In pink and cream, Is a delight in early Spring and Summer. Cropped with the delicate green cupped flowers. A sparkling species, sure to create a talking point in the spring garden.

Helleborus Niger

Surprise your friends and neighbours with an arrangement of Christmas roses for the festive season! Beautiful blooms at a time when little else is available. From seed, you can have a group quite close together in a way which would cost you a great deal if you bought the plants. They flower in about three years from seed and invariably produce stronger, healthier plants.

Helleborus orientalis hybrids Washfield Doubles

Breathtaking, double-flowered Hellebores from the Washfield collection, bred to perfection, adding sheer delight to your borders early each year. T&M are proud to continue the breeding work started over 20 years ago by Hellebore specialist Elizabeth Strangman, and want to share her passion for these intriguing plants with you. These delightful doubles are in a wide colour range including yellows, greens, blacks, reds, apricots and much more.

Helleborus purpurascens

Rarely offered for sale in seed form! This exquisite Helleborus produces clumps of robust, leathery foliage, along with many large blooms, flushed in shades of purple, pink and even slate grey! Flowers from Winter to Spring, 12 inches in height and is ideal for borders.

Helleborus Winter Flowering Hybrid Mixed

This mixture of species and hybrids boasts a range of flower and leaf types, even appearing through the snow. Flower shades can vary from lime-green, through white, apple blossom pink, to dark maroon, either spotted, speckled or plain Foliage is mid to dark green, leathery with different degrees of dissection. The seed pods are also attractive. These long-lived hardy perennials can be grown in the border or as pot plants in the unheated greenhouse, flowering late winter through early spring. A useful addition to the flower arranger when few subjects are available, they reach a height of 30-60cm (12-24in).

By James Middleton

An obsessive gardener since 1982. Day-time job - web designer and developer and University lecturer.

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