Hellebore has been gaining popularity recently due to its early blooming. This winter hardy plant requires no extra care during cold seasons.
Unlike most plants, which go dormant in colder climates, this flowering plant stands off the crowd to brighten your garden with its colourful blossoms.
As they say, nothing great will last forever; hellebores plant blooms until spring. Though it doesn’t bloom in summer, it continues to shiny with its green foliage.
After flowering, you should continue caring for hellebores by providing adequate sunlight, pruning and water.
In this write-up, I’ll share how to care for hellebores in summer and how to prepare them for the next season.
Whether you’re a gardening pro or just starting to explore your gardening skills, this guide will help you to specialize in hellebores summer care.
What to Do with Hellebores When they Finish Flowering?
Prune old leaves in late spring or early summer to redirect the plant’s energy towards new growth. Give sufficient water and partial shade with a balanced fertilizer.
Unlike most plants, hellebores bloom in late winter or early spring. When it is done with flowering, it undergoes summer dormancy.
Though hellebore plants don’t bloom in summer, it doesn’t stop growing.
Hellebores don’t die in summer. With proper care, this plant can continue to appeal to your garden aesthetically.
As mentioned above, prune old leaves to encourage the growth of new leaves. This allows the plant to preserve energy for the next season.
- Not pruning can leave the plant leaf with black or brown spots due to fungal infection.
- Cutting old leaves saves your hellebores from leaf spot diseases.
- As hellebores are perennials, if you care to provide them with essential nutrients they can easily bloom flowing year.
Removing old leaves or spent flowers is the only maintenance hellebores require to continue thriving.
Hellebore plants can withstand cold winter, but you should protect them from harsh cold winds.
Though most gardeners use the name dormancy to describe the stage of hellebores after flowering, it doesn’t go to sleep.
The growing activity of hellebore plants in summer isn’t active compared to winter, but with minimal care, like pruning, the plant stays alive and functioning.
When the climatic conditions aren’t ideal for hellebores, they prepare to store energy to bounce back with vibrant flowers in the next season.
The slow growth or dormancy period of hellebores after blooming is a natural part of the life cycle, allowing them to survive in different climates.
Hellebore Growth Cycle
This flowering plant blooms in winter and spring and stays alive with shiny green foliage throughout the year.
Hellebore is a perennial plant native to Southern Europe and is often grown for its ornamental benefits.
The popularity of hellebore is growing exponentially due to its vibrant coloured blossoms, which bloom from late winter to early spring.
The growth requirement of a hellebore plant changes depending on its growth stages.
Hellebores can be propagated through cuttings, or you can germinate through seeds.
- Plant hellebore seedlings from March to August to ensure the root will have enough time to strengthen itself before blooming in winter.
- Choose a shady plant location with well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
- Provide adequate watering during the growing season, in spring and fall.
- Regularly inspect the plant for possible pests and diseases. Trim the diseased foliage to avoid the spread.
- Hellebores are self-sow plants; they produce seeds that drop in soil and sprout as new plants.
Once the plant is done with flowering, you should trim brown and drooping leaves. This is to shift the energy of the plant to encourage new growth.
Do Hellebores Die Back in Summer?
After flowering, certainly, the hellebore growth rate is slowed down. But this doesn’t mean the plant dies.
Hellebore plant continues to grow even in summer. Most gardeners assume the plant has stopped growing because the growth isn’t noticeable.
The hellebore plant conserves energy during this summer dormancy to prepare for the next flowering season.
As a part of a plant’s natural life, you can see old leaves turning yellow or brown. To make it look vibrant, you should prune this discoloured foliage.
Hellebores even produce seeds during this so-called summer dormancy period. How can the plant produce seeds if it has died or stopped growing?
You should consider this plant stage a resting period and continue providing essential things like sunlight, water and fertile soil.
Certainly, hellebore needs during this rest period differ from the growing season.
It is a cold, hardy plant that can’t face the intense direct sunlight. You should choose a shady spot to grow this ornamental plant.
Watering, mulching and pruning are must to do after hellebores flowering.
Can I prune hellebores in summer?
Simply put, you should prune hellebores once it is finished with flowering season. Pruning is done to encourage new leaf growth and to remove spent leaves from the plant.
The best time to prune hellebores depends on the variety you choose to grow.
Helleborus x hybridus, or Lenten rose, is a popular hellebore variety which blooms from February to April. In late winter, you should prune this plant to promote new growth before the growing season.
Similarly, Christmas roses bloom in late winter to early spring. (Source)
Pruning Hellebores: Must to-do after flowering
After flowering, old leaves and flowers of hellebores look worn out. It can be due to a natural life cycle or a sign of fungal growth.
Pruning hellebores enhance the overall appearance of the plant and, at the same time, encourage new growth.
With pruning in early summer, you provide better air circulation, reduce fungal disease and shift energy towards new foliage growth.
When you don’t prune, you risk plants’ health. Old leaves are prone to diseases, and not removing them can spread the infection to other plants. Apart from this, the plant has to produce food to serve the old foliage.
How to prune hellebores?
Take a sharp and clean cutter or knife to cut old growth.
It is best to sterilize the cutter before pruning. This is to avoid the spread of a possible infection.
- Take a cut close to the base.
- Ensure you’ll not damage the crown of new growth.
- You can add the dry old leaves to the compost, but avoid if it has a sign of fungal infection.
When should I prune hellebores?
You should prune old damaged leaves when you notice new growth on your hellebores.
Pruning is one of the beneficial tasks that can be carried out whenever you see damaged or infected foliage.
Pruning often promotes new growth, and depending on the variety, you can prune in mid-winter or early spring.
Do Hellebores Flower in Summer?
No, they flower in late winter to early spring.
Hellebores are woodland flowering plants that, unlike most ornamental plants, flower in winter and continue to grow with green foliage year-round.
What to Do With Hellebores in Summer?
After flowering, this low-maintenance flowering plant continues to thrive with minimal care.
The first thing to do is to check for old damaged leaves on hellebores and prune in early summer.
In summer, the growth of hellebores slows down, but it doesn’t die.
During this rest period, avoid over-watering the hellebores plant. As the plant conserves energy for the blooming season, it doesn’t need to be fertilized.
As a woodland plant, hellebores prefer a shady location. So, avoid direct sunlight during summer.
Hellebores Growing Conditions
Though hellebore is a low-maintenance flowering plant, it needs specific things to thrive.
Light, water and fertile soil are essential requirements of every plant. But climatic conditions and the growing stage must be considered to become a successful gardener.
Water is essential for plant growth, but over-watering plants can result in root rotting, yellow foliage and stunted growth.
Similarly, excess light and soil nutrients can ruin plant growth.
Sunlight: Hellebores prefers a shady location. It can grow under full sun in colder climates, but it should be protected from intense light in summer. Plant hellebores under trees are protected from harsh sunlight and get dappled light.
Water: During the growing season, hellebores need to be watered adequately. Water when the top 2 inches of the soil is dry.
In summer dormancy, reduce watering frequency to avoid overwatering.
Soil: Choose a well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. You can add perlite, old compost or peat moss to improve the drainage ability of the growing medium.
Soil pH impacts the nutrients plants can absorb from the soil. Hellebores do well in slightly alkaline soil. Add lime to regulate soil pH if needed.
Temperature: Hellebores are known to survive in cold weather. But you should avoid harsh winter. On hot days, the plant prefers shade with enough moisture.
Mulch: Mulching around the hellebores helps retain moisture for a longer time and is used to surpass weed growth. In hot regions, mulching with hay grass can help to maintain ideal soil temperature.
To have a breathtaking view of your garden, you should commit to providing these essential requirements to hellebores.
How to Grow Hellebores?
These beautiful winter-blooming deer-resistant perennials are prominent among gardeners for their beauty and resilience.
With long-lasting foliage and flowers that bloom in winter and spring, hellebores can be grown in the backyard or a container.
Different hellebore varieties can be grown, including popular white and pink-coloured varieties. Purple, green and black coloured varieties are also available.
Their different-shaped foliage and long-lasting flowers make them ideal for garden borders and container gardeners.
Instead of growing hellebores from seeds, you can just borrow hellebore cuttings from a nursery and plant them in your backyard.
- Choose a shady spot to plant the hellebore cutting.
- You can plant them in containers, but replanting them in the backyard is recommended after winter. As hellebores are self-sow, they multiply with time.
- Soil should be well-drained and must be organic-rich.
- Though hellebores are not invasive, they spread slowly. So, leave enough space between the plants.
- Add organic mulch around the plant to retain moisture and maintain the ideal temperature.
- Some hellebores prefer sunny spots like (H. argutifolius and H. × sternii), while others like shady spots. Choose the right variety for your garden.
- Trim back hellebores in late winter or early spring to promote new growth.
Can I cut back hellebores after flowering?
After the blooming season, some old leaves of hellebores begin to dry or turn yellow.
You can cut those old leaves close to the base.
As hellebores plant continues to shine with green foliage in summer, you don’t have to cut back the whole plant completely.
Just remove spent leaves and flowers to encourage new growth.
Are hellebores cut and come again?
Cut and come again refers to flowering plants that produce new growth after you harvest the blossoms.
Hellebore doesn’t belong to this group.
This perennial flowering plant blooms in a particular season and stays green for the rest of the time.
However, hellebores produce long-lasting flowers. They are extensively used as cut flowers to decorate your indoor space.
What Zone is the Best for Growing Hellebores?
Hellebores are winter hardy plants and can be grown in partial shade.
You can grow them in USDA zones 6-9.
Though it can survive cold weather, hellebore plants need to be protected from harsh winter.
Conclusion: Your Role in Care for Hellebores After Flowering
The time and effort of pruning hellebores after flowering will gift your back with vibrant blossoms in the winter and spring.
Hellebores flowering season is finished, but your work as a gardener isn’t completed without pruning this perennial flowering plant’s old leaves and seed pods.
Take your sterilized gardening tools to trim those discoloured leaves to ensure the plant energy isn’t wasted on old leaves.
Even without flowers, hellebores can enhance the beauty of your garden.
During summer dormancy, hellebores conserve the energy to bounce back with enticing flowers.
All this plant needs is minimal effort from you. Easy to propagate and low-maintenance, hellebores are a must-have ornamental plant.