Helleborus argutifolius

Helleborus argutifolius, group, Savill Garden, 17 January 2020
Helleborus argutifolius, group, Savill Garden, 17 January 2020

Invaluable evergreen perennial growing to about 0.7m, with leathery, dark-green, toothed leaves on stout stems. Pale-green bowl-shaped flowers, slightly nodding, held in large open clusters, emerge in January and flower until March. A handsome plant, with striking foliage and a strong presence, it is brilliant for year-round interest. It will cope with dry-ish shade once established but this is not its preferred conditions.

H x S: 0.8m x 0.8m

Aspect and soil: Thrives in fertile, humus-rich, moist, neutral to alkaline soil. Partial shade is ideal but it can tolerate full sun. Provide shelter from strong, cold winds.

Use: Winter gardens as well as edge of woodland. Looks good in the company of Luzula, ferns, snowdrops, and even grasses such as Sesleria autumnalis.

Care: Remove unsightly dead leaves and flower heads, and mulch in autumn with garden compost.

Wildlife: Good for pollinators

Hazard: causes discomfort if eaten; mildly irritant to skin, so gloves should be worn when handling.

Origin: Mediterranean region

Hardiness: H5