Botanical Name: Helleborus niger
Origin: Helleborus niger originates from the mountainous regions of Austria, southern Germany, northern Italy and Switzerland.
Height: White Hellebore plants can grow to heights of around 30 cm (1 ft).
Soil: Hellebores prefer neutral to alkaline pH potting mixes.
Light: Potted hellebores are best kept in positions where they will receive filtered sunlight. A little indirect morning sun and some afternoon shade will suit these plants perfectly.
Humidity: Helleborus niger is happy with average levels of humidity.
Temperatures: Hellebores prefer to be kept fairly cool, with temperatures not exceeding 7 to 18 degrees C (45 to 65 degrees F).
Water: While this plant is growing and flowering, its soil should be kept evenly moist. Watering can be reduced once the blooming period has ended. Yellowing leaves are often a sign of over-watering.
Fertiliser: A diluted liquid fertiliser (balanced; dilution ratio of 1:1) should be provided monthly throughout the year.
Propagation: Once flowering is over - early spring - Hellebore house plants can be divided for propagation. This should be done with great care, as the plant's roots are very fragile.
Description and Care Tips
The evergreen perennial Helleborus niger is a winter-flowering house plant also known as the Christmas Rose. Other common names of this lovely plant - which is usually sold in full bloom just before Christmas - are Black Hellebore or White Hellebore.
The beautiful white flowers of this plant may feature rounded or slightly pointed petals (giving them a star-like appearance), depending on the particular hybrid purchased. Held on thick, upright stems, the flowers open out flat and form a lovely contrast to the plant's shiny, thick leaves.
In its second and consecutive seasons, the White Hellebore - which is attractive throughout the year due to lovely evergreen leaves - is likely to bloom much later, typically some time between January and April.
Because the roots of Helleborus niger are very brittle, it is best not to move it around too much. Repotting should only be done when absolutely necessary - roots coming out through the pot's drainage hole or appearing on the surface of the potting mix are a sign that this is the case - and never during the blooming period.
As aphids have a taste for this house plant, it is recommended to look out for these little pests and deal with infestations as quickly as possible. Another common problem is black spot, a disease that manifests itself - as the name suggests - in dark spots that gradually get larger and can eventually completely strip all the leaves of the plant. Removing dead leaves, flowers and other debris immediately will help to prevent black spot. If an infection does occur, the first step is to remove all affected plant parts, after which a suitable fungicide should be applied.
With a little care, a cool shaded spot and regular watering - though over-watering should be avoided to prevent root rot and yellow leaves - this enchanting plant will brighten the late winter/ early spring months with its shiny leaves and gorgeous flowers for many years to come.