In the last 4-5 years I’ve noticed that hellebores have entered the tissue culture world. It was just a matter of time I guess, but I feel like it takes away a little bit of the magic and mystery of these plants….. but on the other hand there’s no way I would have ever gotten my hands on some of the newer complicated (usually sterile) cross-species cultivars that are showing up.
This “HGC Silvermoon” is a heavy bloomer with an interesting color. It’s attractively planted too close to a construction area and the bricks are supposed to remind me not to step on it. Too bad the leaves get beat up by the ice and snow, I’ve seen it in bloom with foliage intact and it looks so much better. But you get what you get when you’re too lazy to offer up any winter protection.
“Cinnamon Snow” is from a similar cross involving 2 different species. I could google the info and come off as sounding pretty smart but it’s late and I don’t think I’d be fooling anyone. I believe one of the parents is H. Niger, commonly known as the Christmas Rose, and I think this is the first time I’ve got a nice bloom on this plant. It’s in a sheltered spot so the leaves hold up well, but the sheltered spot also brings the blooms up early so they tend to freeze, abort and not open fully.
The “other” hellebores are the regular hybrid hellebores. They’re a mix of several species, they set seed easily and run a range of colors from white to mauve to purple to nearly black. There are some greens and yellows now and with spotting and doubles the range keeps getting bigger. Nearly all of my plants are from seed, but tissue culture clones are showing up here too. These here are all from Australian Elizabethtown seed (now sadly closed).
I’m still waiting for the fancier ones to grow up and bloom, but I do have a couple anemone flowered (a flower part-way between single and double) starting to put on a decent show…. I hate when any part of my hand shows up in a picture, but hellebores tend to nod and sometimes you need a helping hand to peek inside.
Since many hellebores are seed grown there’s always the chance your plant will be a dud when it blooms, and it’s not a bad idea to avoid buying them sight unseen, but if you go with a decent source your chances for a good ‘un are much better. I would bet that most people in the anti-hellebore camp (if one exists) have only seen poor quality seed grown plants. Get good seed and be patient, things will work out.
Next year should be a good hellebore year. I have way too many seedlings coming along and have actually been taking pretty good care of them. I’m hoping for doubles, yellows, picotees…. all the fancy new types that I don’t have yet. The nursery plants are usually out of my budget, but give me a packet of seeds and a couple years and I’m right there with a decent hellebore bed.