Light at the End of the Tunnel – The Lenten Rose

I’ve often thought it is so interesting how plants obtain their common names. Many times they come from the time of year in which they bloom, such as the lenten rose.  Cousin to the Christmas rose, Hellebrous niger, the Lenten rose or Helleborus orientalis, is one of the first beauties to grace my garden in the spring. 

Dark Hellebore Hybrid ~ Lenten Rose

This little gem has bloomed for me as early as February, which is often the beginning of Lent.

Cream Hellebore ~Lenten Rose

If you don’t have any hellebores in your garden you are missing out. First of all, they are very low maintenance, requiring minimal water and sun.

Dark Hellebore - Lenten Rose


Better yet, the deer and rabbits don’t touch them, and hey, they bloom early when you are dying to see some life in the garden.

Dark Hellebore ~ Lenten Rose

There are an abundance of hybrids on the market in a wide range of colors. Anywhere from the whitest white to the darkest, almost-black, purple. If you can, buy one that is in bloom, so you can be sure of what you are getting.

Cream Hellebore - The Lenten Rose -

Hellebore – The Lenten Rose

Life Cycle:    Perennial
Sun:               Shade through Part Sun
Water:           Average
Zone:             4-9
Height:          18-24 inches
Blooms:         Late winter, early spring

Many sold today are hybrids and may not be as hardy as the originals. Many also self-seed, providing you with more gorgeous plants to keep or give away. No worries, they tend to form big clumps and won’t show up randomly somewhere else in your garden.

For more information about this garden favorite check out this article from A Way to Garden interview with Barry Glick, owner of Sunshine Farm and Gardens where his focus is on hellebores.

Shed some light early in your garden and break out of the winter blues with The Lenten Rose. They are creating more and my hybrid beauties every year so you will have an abundance of colors to choose from.  

Many large growers even have special events and tours around this lovely plant. Check you local nurseries to see if they will be hosting an event this spring.

Garden Centers Hosting Hellebore Events

Virginia – Pine Knot Farms
B.C. Canada – Thimble Farms
Georgia – Piccadilly Farms
Washington – Heronswood Gardens
Pennsylvania – Linden Hill Gardens


The Lenten Rose collage -


About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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