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...

October 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More

October 10, 2017

Coastal Callas Is a Dream Fulfilled for Founder Adrian Espinoza

Adrian Espinoza and his family founded Rancho Espinoza Inc. and Coastal Callas in California seven years ago with a mission and purpose to provide consistent quality and reliable supply of calla lilies to the marketplace.

Read More
Latest Stories

October 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More

October 10, 2017

Coastal Callas Is a Dream Fulfilled for Founder Adrian …

Adrian Espinoza and his family founded Rancho Espinoza Inc. and Coastal Callas in California seven years ago with a mission and purpose to provide consistent quality and reliable supply of calla lilies to the marketplace.

Read More
Azalea Encore Autumn Bonfire

October 4, 2017

Big Changes on the Horizon for Woody Ornamentals

The future looks bright for the woody ornamentals market, with exciting new varieties in the pipeline that will offer greater disease resistance, cold hardiness, bloom capacity, and more.

Read More

October 3, 2017

25 New Blooming Potted Plants for Luxury Sales

Consider these new blooming potted plant varieties that offer full blooms, unique foliage, and a touch of extravagance and easy maintenance for time-strapped customers who want to pamper themselves.

Read More
Hydrangea 'Berry White' (Bailey Nurseries)

October 2, 2017

Woody Ornamentals Market Set for Growth

The woody ornamentals market is looking up. Now, out-of-the box thinking about product offerings and consumer education will keep things moving in the right direction.

Read More

September 27, 2017

New Mum Intros From California Spring Trials 2017

For fall gardening product selection, you can't go wrong with offering mums. Here are a few of the new introductions that we saw at California Spring Trials 2017 that will be making their retail debut in 2018.

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

September 26, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Enhances Product Development Program, …

Plant Introductions, which Bailey purchased almost three years ago, is being rebranded as Bailey Innovations, an entity that will breed and trial new varieties in Georgia.

Read More
Green Fuse Lupine Staircase Pink

September 24, 2017

How to Effectively Grow Staircase Lupine

The Staircase Lupine series, part of Green Fuse Botanicals’ First Light Perennials collection, has the potential to put on a great display with solid and bicolor hues.

Read More
Terra Nova 2018 Catalog

September 23, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries’ Latest Plant Catalog is Now Avail…

The new 2017-2018 plant catalog, which features hundreds of varieties, series, and collections from Terra Nova Nurseries, pays homage to the company’s 25th anniversary.

Read More
Armitage GWA Buffalo Tour 5

September 21, 2017

Tour of Buffalo Gardens Reveals Hidden Gems And Communi…

This past August, Allan Armitage joined the Association for Garden Communicators on a tour of Buffalo. It was a reminder that that we can make a difference in neighborhoods, in cities, and in people’s lives.

Read More
Suntory Grandessa argyranthemum - feature

September 18, 2017

Breeders Open Availability for Unrooted Cuttings; Here&…

With new avenues for buying young plants for vegetative production, growers should have an easier time finding availability and receiving shipments of unrooted cuttings for the coming seasons.

Read More
Ball, Tagawa Succulents Partnership

September 14, 2017

Ball Seed to Partner With Tagawa Greenhouses on New Suc…

The new program includes in-demand retail products that are popular with younger shoppers, allowing growers to easily build a comprehensive succulent program and stay on-trend in the marketplace.

Read More
Strait-Laced Elderberry

September 10, 2017

Check Out the Top Varieties On Display at Farwest 2017

A panel of plant experts, along with show attendees, selected their favorite offerings during the Farwest 2017 New Varieties Showcase.

Read More

September 5, 2017

Hort Couture Announces New Propagation and Broker Partn…

The new grower-propagator partners are deeply vested in the independent garden center channel with propagation expertise, as well as finished production focused on the independent grower.

Read More
Helianthus Sunfinity (Syngenta Flowers)

September 3, 2017

Growing Tips for Helianthus Sunflower ‘Sunfinity…

This annual sunflower is a profuse bloomer with strong branching that produces multiple flowers per plant from spring to fall.

Read More
Ball Seed Field Day 2017

September 2, 2017

Highlights from Ball Seed’s Annual Field Day and Landsc…

Attendees of the one-day event had the opportunity to see new plants in up-close-and-personal trials, and engage with speakers and product experts.

Read More
Bidens Popstar (Kientzler)

August 31, 2017

Allan Armitage: Why I’ve Become a Fan of Bidens

The rather boring plant with mundane daisy-yellow flowers has morphed into a vigorous plant carrying colorful flowers that seems to be comfortable in most of the country.

Read More