vulture61

Hellebores anyone?

Vulture61
last year

I’m thinking on growing this plant and I wonder if anybody else is growing it in Central Texas. If so, do you happen to have extra plants to trade? I may have something I can temp you with... Let me know.


Thanks!


Omar

Comments (44)

  • bostedo

    We just got ours in the ground this fall, so unfortunately no extras yet. An experiment needing 8 to 10 plants, so were happy to go with unknown mix of lower cost bare root seedlings via ebay. Just mentioning this option if no trades surface. Believe this was our source, though here is a similar well-rated GA seller - our transaction was too old to confirm.

    Vulture61 thanked bostedo
  • Vulture61

    Thank you, bostedo. I placed an order from the GA seller. If the offer come true, it will be a good deal: 10 plants for $12 (including shipping , $1.2 per plant) Most of other offers I found were $18-25 per plant. I will not get my very favorite cultivar but it will be an affordable try out. I am a little bit concerned with my soil PH, since I read hellebores prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil and all I have is caliche soil. However, I keep adding organic matter and apply liquid seaweed several times a year. We’ll see...


    Omar

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  • bostedo

    Yes, we had similar concerns about them tolerating our 7.7pH clay. Though there is a quite a bit of local (N. TX) advice saying they can handle our pH, but need more organics in the clay... ours (org matter content) was down around 6.5% last time we had it tested. I did go pretty heavy with the local soil in the potting mix we initially put them in and they did well... so am hopeful. We had them in pots for a couple years because they were going into a spot that gets some foot traffic from the neighborhood ad posters and wanted enough roots established to endure an occasional trampling. Tough plants, all of ours have survived so far - well other than the dormant one I composted by mistake. :(


    Best of luck with yours - I like the color. Am still waiting to see if any in our mix produce anything other than white.

    Vulture61 thanked bostedo
  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Hellebores in their natural habitats are generally found on neutral to alkaline soil, not acid, Vulture. However they are unfussy planted in slightly acidic soils. I wouldn't fret about pH too much.

    They're blooming here. Right up against a limestone wall.

    Vulture61 thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • Vulture61

    Very pretty, floral. I hope you are right. However, it wouldn’t be the first time my caliche soil kills one of my plants. I haven’t tested my soil in a couple of years, but I want to believe that the consistent addition of organic matter has increased my soil PH. Time will tell, I guess.


    Omar

  • dbarron

    Muddy purples with green are far more likely than white, unless you're talking helleborus niger types (which are white). The common hybrids run to purples usually though there is a range from pink to "red" to orangey now.

    Vulture61 thanked dbarron
  • Vulture61

    Well, I got my plants in good condition. However, they are sprouts (literally). Just imagine alfalfa or bean sprouts. I don’t know if those seedlings will withstand low temperatures and I really doubt they will bloom any time soon. Time will tell, I guess...


    Omar

  • dbarron

    Three years probably...if they survive. Temps shouldn't be a problem, they sprout about now naturally in z7.

    However, transplant and mail of such small seedlings may not be the best way to experiment, the odds are stacked against you.

    Vulture61 thanked dbarron
  • bostedo

    Our plants were certainly larger than bean sprouts and am guessing they were 1 to 2 year seedlings based on their sizes and early March delivery. Most have not bloomed yet, but did see first flowers their second year with us - so, in line with dbarron's three year estimate.

    After seeing how tough they are in our weather and soil, I'd be mostly concerned about snails/slugs killing "bean sprout" size seedlings (followed by human/pet/squirrel traffic). Might consider keeping them potted for the first year in drier shade that's less appealing to those critters. We left ours outdoors in shaded space except during our few hard freezes. Don't give up immediately on any that appear to "die" in the summer heat, they often reemerge by the October cool down.

    Vulture61 thanked bostedo
  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    I live in slug and snail heaven and the Hellebores self sow happily. They don't get eaten in my garden.

    Vulture61 thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • Vulture61

    dbarron, good news. Thanks!.

    bostedo and floral, the seedlings look healthy. I planted them in different pots and we do not have squirrels around. Hopefully they will survive. It will be a long wait, though...

    Omar

  • dbarron

    Yeah, you will probably only get 3-5 leaves this year, then they'll shutoff for summer, and resume slow growth in fall. It'll look like a plant next year, then flower the next.

    I would probably transplant after growth resumes in the fall, but use your judgement based on conditions and size.

    Vulture61 thanked dbarron
  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Their summer growth depends on your climate. In my temperate maritime clmate they don't shut down at all. But if your summer is very hot they may well do. There doesn't seem to be much of the year when mine aren't growing.

    Vulture61 thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • dbarron

    Texas is not a mild maritime climate (by any stretch) :) We don't even know if they'll live there.

    Vulture61 thanked dbarron
  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Exactly. That's why I said their summer growth depends on your climate. I just wanted to point out that summer dormancy is not an inevitable feature of Hellebores.

    Vulture61 thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • Vulture61

    Yeah, Texan summers are brutal. However, I provide plenty of shade and moisture... We’ll see...

    Omar

  • bostedo

    They will stay green if watered, but go dormant if left to dry out in our north Texas heat (though still classified as 'evergreen' here by north Texas horticulturists). Discovered this by finding almost half our tray of plants "dead" where the sprinklers had missed them while we were away in August. Was pleasantly surprised to see them reemerge in the fall and considered it fortunate that I had only gotten around to disposing of one in my ignorance.

    floral, Some of my sources say snails and slugs are not problems for Helleborus and others say they are - so is a question. Only observation I can make is that when I stored the plants on the north slug/snail infested side of our lot, they would get this sort of leaf damage:

    Could be something else, but snails and slugs are my usual suspects for this sort of damage in that particular space.

    Vulture61 thanked bostedo
  • dbarron

    I had a lot of slugs when I lived in Oklahoma and would lose a lot of young hellebores (seedlings), but I really felt it was rabbits and mice rather than slugs, because whole tiny plants would disappear. I live with plenty of slugs (even wetter here in Arkansas), and I don't see much in the way of leaf damage (at least yet?)

    Vulture61 thanked dbarron
  • castro_gardener

    Omar, I've had mine for years. It has never spread. It's always evergreen. It blooms slightly early spring.


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  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    There are a great many dfferent types of hellebores and they can behave quite differently from each other! So referring to just 'hellebores' is similar to just referring to a pine tree....what kind of pine tree? There are dozens. It does make a difference!!

    One type that I would guess would thrive in a Texas climate is Corsican hellebore, Helleborus argutifolius. Native to the hot climates of Corsica and Sardinia, it is more sun tolerant than most other species or hybrids and quite drought tolerant once established. Not overly showy flowers compared to some of the hybrids but a big, bold workhorse in an appropriate climate!

    Vulture61 thanked gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
  • dbarron

    Good point GG, when I say hellebore without any qualification, I usually mean the hellebore hybrid group, more commonly grown.

    Vulture61 thanked dbarron
  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    dbarron, even that should require some clarification :-) Hellebores cross breed pretty freely and there are scads of hybrids on the market and many will perform very differently!! I am assuming you are referring primarily to the xhybridus group (or what are often referred to incorrectly as H. orientalis or orientalis hybrids) as these tend to be very common and popular, offer the most colorful flowers and have a broad hardiness range.

    But there are lots of others :-)

    Vulture61 thanked gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
  • dbarron

    Yep, I know...I'm lazy though...it's hard to be precise w/o latin genetic soup overflowing.

    Vulture61 thanked dbarron
  • geoforce

    Notice the comments on Ph in above posts. My soil is extremely acid running in the upper 5s or so and hellebores do wonderfully for me. In fact if not weeded out, the seedlings want to cover everywhere. H. niger, H. foetidus, and all the so-called x-orientalis group are the mainstay of my shady hillside gardening. A bit of trouble with H. argutifolius and the multi-hybrids containing it, but that's more a problem of the specific site rather than the soil.

    Vulture61 thanked geoforce
  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    Was at the nursery yesterday admiring the hellebores on a very infrequent, very sunny winter's day and was struck by a new (to me) variety, HGC Ice N’ Roses® Red. Big, deep red flowers held up very proudly!! I was tempted but passed :-) Very little room for more and it's not a color I am drawn to. And I was not knocked out by the foliage, which for an evergreen perennial is almost as important to me as the flowers.

    But I did have to do a bit more research and discovered that this is a "new" hybrid - x glandorfensis - a cross between two other hybrids, H. x ericsmithii and H. x hybridus. Reported to have very long lasting flowers and an extended bloom time - in my climate, from late December through April. Hybridizing hellebores these days seems to have taken on the popularity we have recently seen with heucheras and coneflowers - a new one every few minutes!!

    But no reseeding wth these. Like many of the more complex hellebore hybrids, these are sterile.

    IME, as long as the drainage is good, soil quality is not much of a concern with hellebores :-) Acid or alkaline, lean and rocky or richly fertile, even tolerating well draining clays, hellebores will take it all!!

    Vulture61 thanked gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
  • Vulture61

    Geoforce, I got the perfect solution for your “hellebores over population problem “: send them my way. I’ll be happy to pay postage.


    Omar

  • Vulture61

    Gardengal, lucky you. I have never seen hellebores offered in my local nurseries. Do you remember how much were they asking for a blooming plant?


    Omar

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    Depends on the variety but anywhere from $16.99 to $24.99 for a gallon and right around $12.99 for quart sized (and many of those were blooming as well).

    The owner of my nursery grows many of these himself but most are patented varieties and so he is paying a royalty on the plugs (tissue cultured).

    btw, the PNW is almost hellebore heaven :-) ALL varieties grow very well here and there are a fair number of breeders and hybridizers in the area as well.

    Vulture61 thanked gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas

    Omar, my big HEB has blooming hellebores in several colors and with patterned leaves on sale for $3.50. I don't know if they are the varieties that will hold over in Texas, but they sure are pretty right now.

    Vulture61 thanked roselee z8b S.W. Texas
  • Vulture61

    Lucky you!


    Omar

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas

    I didn't buy any, but can pick up some for you if you want.

    Vulture61 thanked roselee z8b S.W. Texas
  • Vulture61

    Sure! 2-3 White, yellow or pink. Thanks!

    Omar

  • dbarron

    What about the rest of us, who don't have HEBs (lol). Naah, not gonna ask you to ship.

    Vulture61 thanked dbarron
  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas

    dbarron, I would if I could! Omar is close enough to drive ... :-)

    Vulture61 thanked roselee z8b S.W. Texas
  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas

    Omar, this body got all bundled up and braved arctic winds strong enough to blow a yak sideways to get a white, purple, and scarlet ... :-) There were no yellows and I got the last white one.

    Vulture61 thanked roselee z8b S.W. Texas
  • Vulture61

    Yay, thanks! We’ll coordinate the pick up later. Thanks again!


    Omar

  • girlnamedgalez8a

    I am in N. TX Denton Co. and have had Hellebores growing for 15-20 years on my wooded property. I would be happy to share if anyone is interested this area.

    Gale

    Vulture61 thanked girlnamedgalez8a
  • bostedo

    Just an update on the ebay NOID Hellebore seedlings now well into their second year in the unimproved Dallas blackland prairie clay. All have survived and appear healthy, though some are considerably larger than others. This one just started to flower a bit and appears a couple others are starting to put up either flowers or more leaves:

    Still have not found others being grow elsewhere in our neighborhood, but would not hesitate to try the pricey named cultivars based on how rock solid these have been with minimal care.

    Vulture61 thanked bostedo
  • Vulture61

    Well, only three of my seedlings survived: two in pots, one in the ground. They look healthy, but I do not think they will bloom this year. I'll try to add pictures later.


    Omar

  • dbarron

    I ordered some interspecific hybrids from Pine Knot in mid-December, and they arrived blooming (except for the mixed 6 pack). They're very cheery and most have interesting leaves (with silver markings on them).

    It is of my opinion that you should give yourself a hearty congratulations if you kept a hellebore alive in a pot for a year. They're hard primarily because they don't like being kept quite moist.

    Vulture61 thanked dbarron
  • bostedo

    Ours were listed as "1 yr plants" and much more substantial than the "bean sprout" size you described. Maybe they're significantly more fragile during that first year. Ours also did ~2.5 years in pots before planting, so while closer to five years old now, they seem more like 3 or 4 year plants from being stunted during their extra ~18 months in 4" pots waiting on the bed that was delayed a year.

    Vulture61 thanked bostedo
  • dbarron

    I'd say my 6 pack of hellebore hybrids were one years, and if they have a good year, they should flower next spring. Probably only 2-3 flowers, but flowers all the same. It takes about 4 years to get a clump with 15-20 stems looking really nice (for me at least).

  • bostedo

    dbarron, I had the edit screen up and didn't see your earlier response on the challenge of potted Hellebores before my previous post. Only reason ours survived the extended time in pots was the ignorant neglect that let them go dormant as they dried out in the summer heat - most looked like dead/empty pots for ~3 months in both years. Keeping them evergreen in a pot like they will stay in the ground with occasional watering would be much trickier.

  • dbarron

    Yeah, I overwatered some two ? three years ago and resolved into ground at first opportunity was best. I also lost some before that by dehydration..so it's quite a juggling act.

    And I'm quite good (usually) at growing indoor plants and seedlings on in pots..so...

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