Garden Design

4 Easy Ways to Save Money on Expensive Hellebores

Hellebores are notoriously expensive and sometimes, difficult to grow in our garden. They aren’t a high maintenance plant but can be picky about their conditions. Treat them right and they will reward you with their beautiful flowers in early spring when few plants are blooming. Besides their flashy looks, their early spring timing is what I also love about them. Their natural beauty stands out especially when there’s few flowers competing with them.

Why are Hellebores so expensive?

Hybrid Hellobores cost about $17 for a one-gallon pot on average. It can even climb as high as $20-$30 for a one-gallon pot. The reason for this is that garden centers sell more plants when the plants are in bloom and it takes 3-5 years for them to show blooms. In the meantime, staff needs to care for them while they are waiting for the Hellebores to mature.

Wait for a sale

I am patient to wait until garden centers put them in the sales/discount area. I don’t sweat it that the bloom isn’t there. And if I am worried about adding clashing colors, I visit garden centers a few times a year. I make a note of colors that would compliment the plants I already have in my garden. Then I check out the sales area first to see if there are any plants I would like where the blooms are spent and purchase at a discount which is usually around late spring or early summer. Fortunately, Hellobores have soft, muted colors that look lovely in early spring but this technique helps me with other perennials.

If you get your Hellebore plant on sales, you’ll want to get it in the ground quickly especially if it is around early summer. Hellebores can be planted in early spring as long as the ground isn’t frozen into early summer. They are cooler loving plants so if it’s too warm, you’ll want to wait until fall when the intense heat has passed. The first year your Hellebore(s) are planted, keep an eye out to make sure they don’t dry out. What makes this plant a nice choice for people, who don’t have a lot of time to spend in the garden, is that once established, Hellebores can be drought tolerant. They just need a little nurturing the first year.

Check out catalogs that sell bare roots

Do a search online or check out catalogs that you already buy from. Buying bare roots are much cheaper than purchasing an already flowering plant. This is a great option if you don’t mind what color you want and if you are patient. Early spring is a great time to purchase bare roots and get them planted for next year. Make sure to read reviews to see if customers are having any issues with plants not sprouting.

Safety First:

Before handling Hellebore seeds, plants or bare roots, be sure to wear gloves. Hellebores can cause skin irritation and burning. It can get severe when handling them.

Don’t plant them in areas if you have pets that can get into them. They are considered a poisonous plant.

Grow them from seed

Growing them from seed should be easy. You can purchase seeds online. However, if you decide to collect them from a friend’s garden be very careful. Some plants are trademarked so you’ll want to do some research to see the varieties that are registered.

Hellebores self seed really well so if the plant is surrounded by seedlings, collect them in a pot and transplant to your garden. Let your established plants self seed in your own garden.

Collecting seeds is pretty easy. Seeds are ready after the flower dies creating a seed head in late spring, early summer. The seed pod will get bigger and will be brown instead of a light green. Use pruners or scissors to cut them from the plant. Hellebore seeds don’t store as well as other seeds so if you collect them, it’s best if you plant them right way. This is an easy 10 min task at the most.

I found an interesting fact that seed you collect from a Hellebore plant may not be true to the parent type. The only way to ensure you stay consistent with a specific color is to divide the plant.

Hellebores grow in clumps so they can be divided.

Divide them from established plants

Maybe you lucked out when you moved into your house to find mature Hellebore plants in your garden or consider this idea in the future after your Hellebore plants have matured; you can get anywhere from 2 to 10 divided plants from one Hellebore plant. Consider dividing the plants in early spring or fall when it’s still cool. You’ll want to make sure the roots don’t dry out and you can use a sharp knife to divide the clumps. Be sure to pat down the soil to prevent air pockets and water them during the season to make sure they don’t dry out. For bare roots, I like to put a painted rock where they are to remind me where I planted them. Hellebores are not considered an invasive plant.

Naturalizing Hellebores is a great way to enhance your woodland garden or a trail you like to walk.

How should I work them into my landscape?

Hellebores grow best in Zones 6-9. They like dappled shade usually under some trees so they can add blushes of pink hues and natural whites in the edges of your woodland garden. They like neutral to slightly acidic well drained soil. Although Hellebores aren’t native to the United States, they behave well and can grow alongside many part shade loving plants like azaleas, hydrangeas, ferns, Heucheras and they look beautiful under dogwoods. If you plant them with Astilbes, give your Hellebores enough place as Astilbes might take over. Check out more plant combinations here.

Summary

If you’re like me and have an eye for beauty, you’ll be happy to know there are a number of ways to incorporate Hellebores into your landscaping. You can get them on sale, purchase bare roots, collect seed from a friend’s garden or even better ask them to divide a plant for you. If you’re willing to wait a year or two to see the results, you can save so much money adding this gorgeous plant to your garden. As someone who has a million other things that need my attention, that time will just fly by, I promise you.