There are exciting things going on in the horticulture industry. Seems the breeders and growers have caught wind of the fact that we are all a little tired of Amaryllis, Paperwhites, Pointsettias and the rest of the tried and true, but rather expected, selection of winter blooming holiday house plants. The trendy new option is Hellebores.
Hellebores are also known as Lenten Roses or Christmas Roses (though they are not roses at all). They are so named because they naturally bloom in the winter (no forcing needed), although up until recently they were generally considered to be an outside-only plant.
I have always suspected that these plants haven't been as popular as you might expect (given their beauty and interest) because they bloom at such an odd time. The dead of winter is just not when most people spend a lot of time looking at the pretty flowers. But there they are — plant them next to a window where that can be observed from the warmth of your home and you can enjoy how they are un-deterred by snow and frost.
My own indoor Hellebore arrived as a gift from Skagit Gardens right before the holidays. I have been enjoying - and instagramming it — like crazy as it has continued to bloom.
I am beginning to suspect it may need something from me that I am not giving it, like fertilizer, as the leaves have changed in color from the dark green that they were originally to a lighter, more sickly green. So they are not without the need for a little TLC to keep them at their best through these dark months. But the exciting part is, unlike the other holiday plants, which often end up in the bin when they have stopped blooming, the Hellebore will be quite happy to move into your garden come spring. Mine will be joining the others (who have not yet bloomed) on the other side of the kitchen window glass if I can keep it alive until March.
(Images: Rochelle Greayer)