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Cutting back Hellebores

015 Cutting back Hellebores

As we head towards Christmas, one of my last jobs I like to do in the garden is remove the leaves on helleborus orientalis and H. x hybridus type hybrids. These are the hellebores that shoot up the flower buds from the base of the plant while others like H.niger, H.argufolius, H x sternii etc all bear the flowers on the leave stems and these should be cut back when they have finished flowering. Helleborus orientalis are also know as Christmas roses as they start flowering roundabout Christmas time and carry on to March. Cutting back the Hellebores helps to show the flowers off much better then they bloom, on some forms, the flowers can be hidden from view by the leaves and again it makes them visible. Another advantage of pruning them back now is removing the old leaves reduces the chances of the new foliage getting hellebore leaf spot (Microsphaeropsis hellebori).

Here’s my step by step guide

img 1406 1 Cutting back Hellebores

1)A group of Hellebores ready to cut back

img 1408 Cutting back Hellebores

2) pull back the leaves to show the crown of the plant

img 1429 1 Cutting back Hellebores

3) the red circled bits are the flower buds coming up, these are the ones you want to avoid cutting with the secateurs.

img 1409 Cutting back Hellebores

4) now carefully start cutting down the stems as close to the ground as you can

img 1418 2 Cutting back Hellebores

5) I find it best to clear any old stems and leaves out from the crown of the plant as I am cutting back as it makes it clearer to see what I am cutting back and avoiding the buds

img 1425 2 Cutting back Hellebores

6) the finished clump!

015 1 Cutting back Hellebores

6) and in flower!

It’s a nice and easy job to do and one perfect for this weekend!

7 thoughts on “Cutting back Hellebores

  1. Important information, but I HATE that job! I normally do not mind aggressive pruning and grooming, but I happen to be allergic to caustic sap, and I really dislike gloves. I must do this quickly, or get some other sucker to do it. I can do quite a bit, but I do not want to do too much, and them come back inside where it is warm. I suppose there are ways of getting around it, like washing while still cool, but still, it getting someone else to do it easiest for me.

    1. Like the idea of getting some other sucker to do it, is it just Hellebores that cause the problem? One of my nice little just before Christmas jobs

      1. I do not think that everyone reacts to it the same way. I can also be allergic to primrose and grevillea, but not all the time. Many of my colleagues are not allergic to poison oak, but some people are seriously allergic to it.

  2. […] 6) ok will be a bit cheeky this week and feature a job I have done another blog on, cutting back the old leaves on Hellebores but it’s a prefect job to do this week so take a look and see how easy it is. It can be found here […]

  3. Thank you for this useful guide!

  4. […] double) are finally completely open since Sunday. I followed Thomas’s advice (here is the link) to remove the old leaves that had the effect of promoting flowering. Now, I’m still waiting […]

  5. […] old leaves and finished flowers to be removed. More information about how to do that can be found here. It is worth giving them a feed of Vitax Q4 after they have finished flowering and also a good […]

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