Sensational Hellebores Light Up Shade Gardens

By Kerry Ann Mendez

Hellebores will provide a heart-warming burst of spring color in shade gardens. These rugged beauties are an early nectar treat for pollinators but are detested by deer and rabbits. There are many species of hellebore, but orientalis, commonly called Lenten Rose, is the most widely available.


Flowers range in color from white, yellow, red, black, green, pink, purple and bi-color. The blooms can be single or multi-petalled and can face downward, upward or outward. I'm a fan of the outward facing varieties that are easily enjoyed from a distance. All Hellebores in the Frostkiss series have outward facing blooms, as well as striking variegated foliage. Hellebores are usually between 12" and 24" tall and vary in hardiness from Zones 3 to 8 depending on the cultivar.


Given that Hellebore's foliage is evergreen, it can look ratty after coming through winter, especially if weighted down by a lot of snow. Once I see new growth emerging from the soil, I prune older stems with shabby foliage to the ground. This allows the spotlight to be on the lush new growth and soon-to-open flower buds.

Visit Us!

We offer a stunning selection of Hellebores at Estabrook's. The best time to shop for these is in spring when they are in their full glory!

About the Author

KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at Estabrook's consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more. Plus, check out her Garden Webinar series for more tips and tricks.

Kerry Ann Mendez