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A Cure for Winter Gardening Blues

Missing the feel of the earth and the promise of blooms in the cold of early February? Planting helleborus orientalis, also known as Lenten rose, in your garden can be a great way to have attractive flowers in the depth of winter.

Everything about this plant goes with today’s emerging passive gardener, gardeners who want beauty with little or no fuss. This plant is a great low growing, compact, low light, low water, low care, workhorse of a plant. Perhaps the biggest problem you will have is choosing who to share the divisions with when it is time to divide the plant in a few years.


This plant likes shade and will tolerate even dry shady conditions. The soil can be regular garden loam with a bit of compost added in for good measure at the time of planting. When fertilizing a basic garden fertilizer will do.

Once established, the most care you have to give this plant will be to remove the old mature leaves in July or August when the new leaves come in. Flowering time is from mid-February to mid-March; however, the flowers which are actually bracts, will remain on the plant for several months. To prevent self-seeding and an overabundance of baby plants faded flowers can be removed in April.

Should you wish to transplant or when you’ve selected your lucky friends to share with, divide, you should do so in May for best results.


Derek “The Garden Guy” Thomas has been nationally recognized for his garden design work. He is committed to the urban waterways movement by teaching and lecturing on the importance of protecting and preserving the waterways of DC and beyond. He plants a garden every year and also runs Thomas Landscapes LLC.

Thomas can be contacted at www.thomaslandscapes.com / @thomasgardenguy on twitter. You can find and friend Thomas Landscapes on Facebook at Facebook/Thomas Landscapes.    

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