Hellebores are woodland plants, perfect to grow under the canopy of deciduous trees. They prefer alkaline soils - keep them away from pine trees - are adapted to the colder climate zones and are the first flowers in the garden, blooming as early as January during mild winters. They keep their flowers for an amazing four months.

Even though hellebores are evergreen they only put effort into their old foliage until the fresh growth starts to emerge in spring. The old leaves turn brown and quite unattractive after that and you will need to remove them if you want to keep the plants healthy and compact and allow them to show off their glut of flowers.

Many gardeners say these beautiful perennials are hard to start from seed, mine can't seem to stop, but since most varieties are hybrids, if you want to propagate them and maintain their characteristics, use root divisions or take cuttings.

My rather sizable Spotted Lady hellebore has been sprouting more babies than I know what to do with. The new plants look nothing like their mother, but they're lovely anyway, with soft pink flowers that remind me of wild roses and apple blossoms.

Hellebores need plenty of water during the spring and fall, and could use a little fertilizer every now and then, but otherwise they are basically care free and thrive anywhere you plant them, even in dry shade. I haven't had one die on me yet.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"; "The Blue Rose Manuscript"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.