Helleborus × hybridus (red hybrid)

Common Name: hellebore
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: February to April
Bloom Description: Deep maroon red
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Heavy Shade

Culture

Best grown in organically rich, humusy, alkaline, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers light to moderate shade. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. Cut back flowering stems after bloom to promote new foliage growth. Locate plants in areas protected from cold winter winds. These plants possess the unique ability to bloom in subfreezing winter temperatures, often when snow is on the ground. Although the foliage is evergreen, it may become scorched and tattered in extremely harsh winters, particularly if not protected from cold winter winds and/or insulated by snow cover.

Noteworthy Characteristics

'Red Hybrid' is a dark maroon-red hybrid cultivar of the popular Lenten rose. This is an evergreen, bushy, clump-forming perennial which typically grows 12-15" tall with a similar spread. Nodding, cup-shaped, deep maroon flowers (to 2" diameter) with overlapping petals and center crowns of conspicuously contrasting yellow stamens appear in clusters (cymes) at the tips of leafy stems from February through April. Bloom period can be longer in mild winters. Glossy, deeply-cut, dark green, evergreen leaves are deeply lobed. Leaves, stems and roots are poisonous. 'Red Hybrid' is not strictly speaking a cultivar of H. orientalis. It is simply one of the many Lenten rose garden hybrids now available in commerce which have H. orientalis as one of its parents. These garden hybrids are increasingly being sold by nurseries by flower color rather than by specific cultivar name and are often (particularly in Europe) lumped under the catchall category of Helleborus x hybridus.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot and leaf spot are occasional problems.

Garden Uses

Flowers that bloom in February in St. Louis are true harbingers of spring. Locate plants near a kitchen window, patio or walkway so that the early bloom may be enjoyed to the fullest. Group in shady locations under trees, large shrubs or in woodland gardens. Mass for an attractive year-round ground cover.