Hellebores

(Question)

When do I cut Hellebore leaves back, if at all? What is the best time of the year to do so?

(Answer)

There are 2 groups of hellebores:

  • acaulescent, where flowers and leaves are on separate stems (e.g., Helleborus hybridus)
  • caulescent, where flowers and leaves appear on the same stems (e.g., Helleborus foetidus and Helleborus argutifolius)

With acaulescent hellebores, it’s best to prune off all old foliage in the late fall or early winter (November – January), to create a tidier plant and to prevent diseases such as black spot.

For caulescent hellebores, the whole stem (with leaves and flowers on it) should be removed after flowering, in early summer.

You can remove spotty or unsightly foliage at any time.

Both types of hellebore do well with a mulch of garden compost or well-rotted manure in the autumn and/or late winter.  An autumn feeding with Bonemeal would also be beneficial.

For further reading please see the links below:

See the Hardy Plant Society’s “Propagating Hellebores” for more details.

The University of California’s “Hellebores, New plant on the block” provides details about care of these lovely plants.