How to Grow Lenten Rose

The Lenten Rose plant (Helleborus orientalis hybrids that are collectively called Helleborus x hybridus.) is actually not a rose at all but rather a perennial of the Ranunculacaea family that blooms in late winter to early spring, often during the Lent season (hence the name).

How to Grow the Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose are one of the easiest plants to grow. They are hardy and low maintenance with blooms in late winter or early spring.  They are about 8-inches tall and blend well with hostas, ferns, and other shade loving plants.

They provide a great backdrop for spring flowering bulbs. The Lenten Rose (also often called by its Hellebores name as well as “Christmas Rose”) is also deer-resistant!

When to Plant Lenten Rose

The good news about Lenten Rose is that it can be planted in either the spring or the fall! Keep in mind that if you choose to plant in the fall, be sure to leave at least a few weeks for roots to grow before the ground freezes.

Keep in mind that when growing from seedlings, it will take two to three years to mature into a flowering plant.

Lenten Rose Plant

Where to Plant Lenten Rose

Do Lenten Rose like Sun or Shade?

Lenten Rose should ideally be planted in partial to full sun. In the Midwest, they will grow well in full sun but here in the South, I suggest an area with partial afternoon shade.

Be sure the area is well-drained and the soil is fertile-rich. It’s important that they aren’t in an overly wet environment, so be sure it drains well.

Space the plants out about 18″ to allow for growth and about 8-10″ in height. When grown from seeds, it will take about 2 to 3 years for the Lenten Rose to fully mature, but they will flower in their first year.

Care Tips for Lenten Rose

Ideally, the soil will be evenly-moist for the Lenten Rose, but after it is an established plant, it can tolerate more dry conditions. It’s best in Zones 4-9 and remains evergreen from Zone 6-9.

The flowers, actually sepals, should be cut back at the stems once they start to brown on the edges. The evergreen foliage does not need to be trimmed back. The Lenten Rose is a very hardy plant.

Will a Lenten Rose flower every year?

Yes, it will! Lenten Rose is a perennial so it will flower each year.

How to Grow Lenten Rose

When does Lenten Rose Bloom?

In the late winter, the flower buds will begin to pop out and the flowers – about 3 to 4 inches in diameter – will appear. They have a long blooming season of 8 to 10 weeks, and sometimes even from January all the way through May! The flowers often face downwards from their thick stems. The flowers are actually sepals with 5 petals of cup-like pods. The sepals don’t fall off, unlike most other flowers.

They have dark green, segmented, leathery, evergreen leaves. New foliage will begin to emerge after the flowers have begun to fade.

There is quite a lot of color variation in the Lenten Rose. It varies from white, cream, yellow, pink, dark plum, purple and green. You’ll also notice lots of freckling, spots, and veining on the various flowers.

Lenten Rose Flower

Are Lenten Rose poisonous to Dogs?

It is important to note that they are toxic to humans as well as dogs and cats (in large quantities) so be sure to plant it where safe from roaming pets.

Lenten Rose Varieties

  • Red Lady: single petal in deep red
  • Pink Lady: single petal, white with blushed pink
  • Winter Queen: single petal with red, lavender to pink petals
  • Mrs. Betty Ranicar: heavy double bloom, snow white
  • Windcliff Double Pink: This variety offers stunning double pink flowers and mounded foliage.

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