Early Spring Bloomer

Welcome to Spring! At Plant Exchange Blog, USDA Zone 4-5a on the Northern Great Plains, we are used to the calendar declaration of spring well before plants begin to grow again. Hellebores are an easy to grow shade-tolerant perennials that bloom in early spring in this region.

In our yard, they start ahead of daffodils and tulips. It is easy to establish and don’t require special care during the season. Their green leaves are among the first to appear. This spring is beginning warmer than usual, with wide fluctuating temperatures. Weather like this is usually quite tough on early plants. Re-growth of Hellebores leaves is common.

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Hellebores are generally not browsed by deer or rabbits and have few insect or disease pests. Some assume such hardy plants of our region are required to be ugly. Luckily Hellebores growers have developed varieties with larger and more colorful flowers.

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Hellebores are called winter roses or Lenten roses because of their quite early bloom. Flower of Hellebores are buttercup-like and have numerous stamens and pistils in the center. Flowers commonly nod or point downward. When you discover they are one the first to bloom, ahead of crocus in late winter, it’s easy to forgive a short stem and downward display. In fact, they show well as floaters in a dish of water.

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March/April issue of Northern Gardner magazine has an article on Hellebores and shows more varieties. This publication is available at the Yankton Community Library.

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Thanks for your visit to our weekly Plant Exchange Blog. You’ll see more topics on the column to the right of your screen. Also you may prefer to browse by category such as “Vegetables” or “Flowers.” Thanks for your visit. We appreciate the “Likes” and loyal “Followers.” A new season is beginning!

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