Heckuva Good Hellebore Selection

Heckuva Good Hellebore Selection

Perennial growers and landscapers have long known about the Lenten rose (helleborus). It is an early-flowering, shade-loving, tough-as-nails perennial that the gardening public has recently discovered. In fact the plant has been around, unchanged, for centuries.

Lenten roses are called as such because they generally bloom during Lent. They may, however, bloom two weeks before or after Lent, depending on the climate. Lenten roses are cold hardy to about Zone 4–they’re even hardier if planted in a protected area or with a blanket of snow–and they can flourish as far south as Zone 8. The Lenten rose was the Perennial Plant Association’s 2005 Perennial Plant of the Year, so we shouldn’t need too much catching up.

So, why am I writing about Lenten rose if it’s been well known for so long? Hellebores are no different than many other genera. They sit around forever with breeding advances nibbling away at the edges, but like a ‘Rozanne’ geranium or a ‘Purple Wave’ petunia, all of a sudden, a breakout piece of breeding occurs. The term “breakout” may not even be accurate in the case of hellebores because there have been better series–and occasionally single colors available–but seldom in decent numbers or at an affordable price.

‘Ivory Prince’ was introduced a few years ago, with little fanfare but great success. Plants people like me were ecstatic that a vegetatively propagated hellebore, with consistent habit and flower color, was now available. The foliage was handsome but the breakthrough was that the flowers stood above the foliage and were outward facing, unlike most of the seed-propagated hellebores whose flowers nodded down. That it also performed consistently around the country made landscapers and retailers smile. I have often called ‘Ivory Prince’ the best new hellebore in the last 50 years.

Success begets success. There will be an explosion of new hellebores in the next five years, with companies like Plant Haven, Skagit Gardens, Terra Nova Nurseries and Heuger Trading Company making serious pushes with new hellebores. Looking at the material we are trialing here at the University of Georgia, it is obvious breeders are looking for plants in which the flowers are more visible than what is commonly available.

Below are some of my choices.

– ‘Ivory Prince.’ The king at the moment.

– ‘Tutu.’ A Lenten rose with tall flower stems so the nodding flowers can be appreciated.

– ‘Cinnamon Snow.’ Good color, good habit, outward-facing flowers.

– ‘Pink Beauty.’ Amazing number of flowers, all looking at you.

– ‘Ruby Glow.’ Fabulous color.

– ‘Pink Frost.’ Upright flowers, excellent dark color.

– ‘Winter Moonbeam.’ Wonderful foliage, beautiful flowers.

All these hellebores are available in 2010, or will be available for 2011. They all look good in a container and will be among the first perennials to flower in the pot or in the ground. Get some and evaluate them for next year’s spring market. These plants are in their infancy, so some will be far more successful than others. But don’t say I didn’t give you a heads up!

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Heckuva Good Hellebore Selection

  1. At some point can we get a listing of retailers, not just growers, who will have these hellebores? I was in or around the business for 35+ years and now have to go to retailers for material for my woods.
    Love your work, keep it up!

  2. At some point can we get a listing of retailers, not just growers, who will have these hellebores? I was in or around the business for 35+ years and now have to go to retailers for material for my woods.
    Love your work, keep it up!

More From Varieties...
Poinsettia 'Christmas Joy Marble'

February 20, 2017

5 New Varieties Shaking Up the Poinsettia Tradition

With poinsettias trending toward non-traditional colors, growers may find new opportunities to spread sales beyond the winter holidays. Here are five of the newest euphorbia varieties to hit the market that may play a role in redefining the future of the poinsettia market.

Read More
University of Tennessee trials overview (2015 University of Tennessee Field Trials)

February 19, 2017

2016 University of Tennessee Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville and Jackson, TN.

Read More
Reiman Gardens field trials

February 18, 2017

2016 Iowa State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.

Read More
Latest Stories
Poinsettia 'Christmas Joy Marble'

February 20, 2017

5 New Varieties Shaking Up the Poinsettia Tradition

With poinsettias trending toward non-traditional colors, growers may find new opportunities to spread sales beyond the winter holidays. Here are five of the newest euphorbia varieties to hit the market that may play a role in redefining the future of the poinsettia market.

Read More
University of Tennessee trials overview (2015 University of Tennessee Field Trials)

February 19, 2017

2016 University of Tennessee Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville and Jackson, TN.

Read More
Reiman Gardens field trials

February 18, 2017

2016 Iowa State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.

Read More
Syngenta Obsession Cascade

February 15, 2017

Syngenta Introduces Two New Flower Series for 2017

‘Sunfinity’ Sunflower produces multiple branches with numerous flowers that bloom all season long, while ‘Obsession Cascade’ Verbena quickly fills containers with vibrant flower patterns.

Read More
Euphorbia 'Gold Rush'

February 8, 2017

5 Ways to Tie Poinsettias to Lifestyle Trends for Incre…

With poinsettia planning upon us, here are a few ideas to incorporate them into upcoming lifestyle and home décor trends to help increase sales.

Read More
Table setting with begonias for decoration

February 7, 2017

Seasonal Plant Trends for 2017 and Beyond

Aligning your plant sales with popular lifestyle and home décor movements will engage your customers and multiply your profits.

Read More

February 7, 2017

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Presents a First Look at Ne…

The annual event brings breeders, growers, and retailers together to compare new plant varieties and evaluate their performance. Here's a look at some of the new varieties featured in the trial gardens.

Read More
Grateful Heart Rose feature

February 5, 2017

Flower Breeders Making Donations for Heart Disease and …

Companies such as Jackson & Perkins and Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs are donating portions of their sales to groups such as the American Heart Association and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Read More
Tyler Beasley

February 1, 2017

Allan Armitage California Spring Trials Scholarship Win…

Beasley, a junior at Oregon State University’s Ecampus who also manages a local community college greenhouse, will join Armitage and a team of Greenhouse Grower editors in attending and reporting on the 2017 California Spring Trials.

Read More
IPM Essen Plant Innovations Winners

January 31, 2017

Top New Plants Recognized at IPM Essen in Germany

Winners were announced in several categories in the Innovations Showcase, from flowering houseplants to cut flowers.

Read More
Allan Armitage San Marzano tomato plant feature

January 25, 2017

Allan Armitage Describes Veggies, Shade Plants, and Cli…

Here's a look at plants that could help you with successful growing in 2017.

Read More
Hibiscus Hollywood Gossip Queen

January 24, 2017

29 New Flowering and Foliage Plants from TPIE 2017

The Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was the place to be Jan. 18-20 to catch a peek at some of the new plant introductions making their first appearance on the market.

Read More
Quick Plug

January 24, 2017

Dümmen Orange Acquires Quick Plug, a Cutting Compost Su…

Quick Plug technology is designed to open up opportunities for automation and robotization of several product groups and add quality to rooted products.

Read More
EPCOT Suntory Princettia Euphorbia

January 23, 2017

Princettia Euphorbias Charm Vacationers at Disney Resor…

Suntory’s Princettia euphorbias have brought a new color palette to the holiday landscapes at Walt Disney World’s resorts and theme parks in central Florida.

Read More
Youngs Plant Farm Trial Garden feature

January 21, 2017

Don’t Miss the Southern Garden Tour This June

Growers, retailers, and all industry professionals are invited to the 2017 Southern Garden Tour, which is hosted by Young’s Plant Farms, Sakata, and Metrolina Greenhouses, and will be held June 6-8.

Read More
Gaillardia 'Mesa Red'

January 21, 2017

2016 Pike Creek Horticulture Center Field Trials Result…

Check out the 2016 field trials results for The Pike Creek Horticulture Center in Kenosha, WI.

Read More
Anna Chernyavsky

January 20, 2017

New Director of Sales for Bedding Plants and Perennials…

Anna Chernyavsky, who joined Danziger in August 2016, will be in charge of the U.S. and United Kingdom markets.

Read More
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

January 19, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Hosting Spring Previews in February

The previews, which provide education, new variety information, and retail support programs, will take place in Illinois, Minnesota, and Boston.

Read More