Helleborus Niger (Hellebore) Seeds


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Helleborus Niger, or Black Hellebore is a frost hardy plant that is also known as Christmas Rose. This name derives from a folk tale that the plant sprouted in the snow from the tears of a young girl who did not have a gift to give baby Christ. It is perhaps the most famous of about 20 species in its genus. Hellebore is poisonous, containing the toxin protoanemonin or ranunculin. Perhaps for this reason, it is known to be deer-resistant. Despite its toxicity, it still has a history of use in folk medicine. It was also used to ward of evil in the home. Despite the name “niger” this species of hellebore has white flowers with a soft pink tint.

Growing Information: Hellebore requires cold stratification in order to simulate winter. In cooler climates, you can sow seeds outdoors and use the natural seasonal cycle. This requires much less effort, but you risk losing the seeds to animals and weather conditions. Otherwise, you will want to sow your seeds at room temperature for eight weeks before moving the seeds into the fridge for another eight weeks and then moving them back into warmer temperatures. Hellbore can take over a year to germinate. But it is one of the more rewarding species to grow from seed. The seeds can be germinated directly in soil by placing them 1/4? deep. A well-draining soil is absolutely essential. Usually a mix of compost, peat and sand is sufficient. You can also opt to use something like rockwool or spaghnum moss until sprouting occurs. Once established, hellebore likes partial shade, such as at the edge of a wooded area.

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