Common Name: Christmas rose
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: February to March
Bloom Description: White fading to blush pink with yellow stamens
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Dry Soil
Best grown in organically rich, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Locate plants in areas protected from cold winter winds. Plants usually take several years to establish. Clumps may be divided for propagation, but clumps never require division and will form and grow best when left undisturbed. Plants may self seed sparingly in optimum growing conditions. More difficult to grow than the similar, but later blooming Helleborus orientalis.
Christmas rose is a clump-forming, winter-blooming perennial which typically grows 8-12" tall. Features large, cup-shaped, rose-like, white flowers (to 3" diameter) with crowns of conspicuously contrasting yellow stamens. Flowers usually appear singly on thick stems which do not always rise above the foliage. Flowers acquire pink shading as they mature. Palmate, deeply lobed, somewhat waxy, basal, dark green leaves (7-9 leaflets) are evergreen in warm climates but deciduous in extremely cold winters. In the St. Louis area, plants will remain evergreen in moderate winters, but may become scorched and tattered in extremely cold weather, particularly if not insulated by snow cover. Bloom time varies considerably with the severity of the winter climate (early December in warmer regions to March in the far northern part of its growing range). Long bloom period of up to two months. Flowers sometimes bloom in the snow and bloom can survive spurts of even sub-zero temperatures. An extremely rugged plant once established. Leaves, stems and roots are poisonous.
No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot and crown rot are occasional problems.
Clumps of Christmas rose blooming at Christmas time can be very special. Locate plants near a kitchen window, patio or walkway so that the winter bloom may be enjoyed to the fullest. Group in shady locations under trees or large shrubs, woodland gardens or border fronts. May also be massed to form an attractive ground cover.