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Plant Combination Ideas with Hellebores

Plant Combinations, Flowerbeds Ideas, Winter borders, Spring Borders

Companion Plants for Hellebores, Plant Combinations, Flowerbeds Ideas, Spring Borders, Winter Borders, Companion Planting, Helleborus, Christmas Roses, Lenten Roses

Prized for their abundant winter or early spring blooms and attractive foliage, Hellebores (Helleborus) are invaluable additions to the shade garden and provide gardeners with some of the greatest pleasures in winter. Ranked by some as amongst the top 10 high-performance perennials, these harbingers of spring are tough, cold-hardy, deer or rabbit resistant, and easy to grow. Most Hellebores feature evergreen foliage that remains handsome year-round and provides multi-season interest.

  • The most popular Hellebore varieties are the Lenten Roses (Helleborus x hybridus or Helleborus orientalis) which are hardy to USDA 4-9 and available in a rich array of colors, including pink, purple, red, white, green, apricot, and yellow.
  • Flowering a month or so earlier are the Christmas Roses (Helleborus niger) which are hardy to USDA 3-8 and display pristine white to pink-tinged white blossoms.
  • 2 taller Hellebore varieties are worth mentioning: Corsican Hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius) with large clusters of pale green flowers contrasting with the large blue-green divided foliage (USDA 6-9); and the unjustly named Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) with long-lasting clusters of cheerful chartreuse, bell-shaped flowers, edged with dark red and rising above lovely fan-like foliage (USDA 5-9). Both varieties have received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

But rather than let these charming beauties bloom lonesomely in a bare patch, give them companion plants and layer your plantings for maximum drama. This is particularly important among Lenten roses that lack foliage of their own when in bloom. Hellebores make perfect partners with other plants and help create strikingly beautiful combinations in the garden.

Extend the season of interest in your mixed border

Surrounding your Hellebores with a succession of flowers and evergreen plants will reinforce the beauty of their blooms and foliage and extend the season of interest of your mixed border.

  • Start with low-growing spring bulbs such as Galanthus (Snowdrop), Crocus, Muscari (Grape Hyacinth), Scilla (Squill), Anemone blanda (Grecian Windflower), Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite) and Narcissi (Daffodil). They will create a flowering carpet and provide eye-catching color to your garden at a time when it is still dormant.
  • Other spring bloomers that will punch up the show are Phlox divaricata (Woodland Phlox), Trillium (Wake Robin), Erythronium (Trout Lilies), Corydalis, Primula (Primrose), Hepaticas, Pulmonarias, and Epimediums.
  • Add foliage plants such as Asarum europaeum (European Wild Ginger), Ferns with their graceful fronds, Hostas with their smooth leaves, Dicentra with their ferny foliage (Bleeding Heart), Carex (Sedges), and Polygonatum (Solomons’ Seal) to carry the summer display.
  • Interplant Cyclamen, Colchicum (Fall Crocus), Sternbergia, Lycoris (Spider Lily), Tricyrtis (Toad Lily), Asters, and Actaea (Baneberry) to enjoy a lovely fall display and create a powerful statement.
  • Complement with the colorful fruits of Viburnums, Callicarpa (Beauty Berries), and other hollies to add light and interest to the fall and winter landscape.

​Combine texture, color, and form to create rich harmonies

Hellebores are rounded to mounded plants. Therefore, their companion plants need to feature contrasting forms to add gravitas to the ensemble.

Hellebore Cultural Requirements

There is a wide range of companion plants that will bring out the best qualities of your Hellebores and share their space with a serene balance. Make sure you select any ornamental grasses, perennials, annuals, or shrubs that have the same growing requirements as your Hellebores.

  • Most Hellebores perform best in partial shade in fertile, humus-rich, neutral to alkaline soils that are moist but well-drained. There are, however, a few exceptions: Helleborus foetidus prefers deeper shade, while Helleborus argutifolius and Helleborus × sternii thrive in sun. Helleborus niger performs best in light shade with free-draining soil.
  • Hellebores do not like very dry or wet, poorly drained soil.
  • Select a planting site that is sheltered from strong winds.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Perennials
Genus Helleborus
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Winter
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy
Tolerance Full Shade, Drought, Deer, Salt, Rabbit
Landscaping Ideas Patio And Containers, Ground Covers, Beds And Borders, Small Gardens, Underplanting Roses And Shrubs
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow, Traditional Garden

Helleborus 'Amethyst Gem' + Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop) + Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite)

Helleborus foetidus (Stinking Hellebore) + Trillium chloropetalum var. giganteum (Giant Wake Robin) + Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich Fern)

Helleborus niger (Christmas Rose) + Chionochloa rubra (Red Tussock Grass) + Cornus alba (Tatarian Dogwood) + Bergenia

Helleborus 'Rose Quartz' + Cyclamen coum (Persian Violet) + Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop)

Helleborus × hybridus 'Double Ellen White Spotted' + Scilla siberica (Siberian Squill) + Erica carnea 'Myretoun Ruby' (Winter Heath)

Helleborus 'Berry Swirl' + Brunnera macrophylla (Siberian Bugloss) + Anemone blanda (Grecian Windflower) + Narcissus (Daffodil) + Fritillaria meleagris (Checkered Lily)

Helleborus 'Penny's Pink' + Asarum europaeum (European Wild Ginger) + Athyrium niponicum 'Silver Falls' (Painted Lady Fern) + Asplenium scolopendrium (Hart's Tongue Fern)

Garden Examples

A Cheerful Winter Border Idea with Hellebores and Cyclamens
A Pretty Spring Border Idea with Corsican Hellebore and Siberian Bugloss
A Rich Winter Border Idea with Hellebores and Foliage Plants
An Exciting Idea For Your Early Spring Garden
A Pretty Spring Border Idea with Hellebore, Siberian Bugloss and Grasses
A Treasured Winter Border Idea with Hellebores, Sedge and Dogwood
Compare All Helleborus (Hellebore)
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Helleborus (Hellebore)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Perennials
Genus Helleborus
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Winter
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy
Tolerance Full Shade, Drought, Deer, Salt, Rabbit
Landscaping Ideas Patio And Containers, Ground Covers, Beds And Borders, Small Gardens, Underplanting Roses And Shrubs
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow, Traditional Garden
Compare All Helleborus (Hellebore)
Compare Now
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Helleborus (Hellebore)

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