How to Care for Lenten Roses

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Gardeners are always excited to learn about plants that grow well and flower in shade. There are small, neglected, shady corners to fill, and the Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis) is ideal for the job. Lenten rose grows 1 to 2 feet tall and blooms in late winter to spring in a variety of colors, depending upon variety. A very easy plant to care for, lenten rose is native to southern Europe and hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 through 9.



Things You’ll Need:

  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears or sharp scissors
  • Fertilizer
  • Fungicide
  1. Keep the soil around the lenten rose moist at all times.

  2. Place a 2-inch layer of mulch on the soil, spreading it evenly around the plant. This will help the soil retain moisture and discourage weed growth.

  3. Remove foliage covering the flowers. This allows pollinators access to the flowers and opens the plant to increased air-circulation, helping it to avoid fungal diseases. Use pruning shears or your fingers to remove dead foliage and flowers in the fall.

  4. Fertilize the lenten rose in spring with an all-purpose fertilizer. Apply at the rate suggested on the label for the size of your garden.

  5. Inspect the lenten rose periodically for signs of disease. Diseases common for this plant are black death and hellebore leaf spot. Black death, a virus, causes black rings and streaks on the foliage and the flowers. To control black death, remove the plant from the garden and dispose of it. Hellebore leaf spot is evidenced by brown splotches on the leaves. Control involves removing infected leaves, cleaning plant debris from the soil and spraying the plant with a fungicide such as difenoconazole, myclobutanil or triticonazole. Follow the label directions for application rates.

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