Alphabetical Plant Listing

Helleborus foetidus (Stinking Hellebore)

Stinking Hellebore, Barfoot, Bearfoot, Bear's Foot, Foetid Hellebore, Ox Heel, Setterwort, Stinkwort


Unjustly named Stinking Hellebore, award-winning Helleborus foetidus provides gardeners with some of the greatest pleasures in winter. This evergreen perennial features large, open and long-lasting clusters of cheerful chartreuse, bell-shaped flowers, 1 in. wide (2 cm), edged with dark red. Blooming heavily for weeks from late winter to mid spring, these nodding beauties rise on sturdy, erect stems above a handsome foliage of leathery, narrow, fan-like (palmately divided), dark green leaves. Flowers and bruised foliage are unpleasantly aromatic, releasing a moderately rank, grassy smell - thus the common name. Drought-tolerant, Helleborus foetidus is also one of the finest perennials for dry shade.

  • Winner of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society for its noteworthy qualities.
  • Grows slowly in a clump, up to 1-2 ft. tall (30-60 cm) and 12-18 in. wide (30-45 cm). Although this perennial is usually not long lived (4-5 years), it will often self-seed in satisfactory growing conditions and keep its cool presence in the garden.
  • Performs best in part shade, in rich, humusy, moist, alkaline, well-drained soils. Full sun is tolerated. Hellebores are very tolerant and will grow well in most soils as long as the ground is not extremely dry or stagnantly waterlogged. Select a sheltered site to protect them from cold winter winds. Mulch annually in fall.
  • Drought tolerant once established, it is deer resistant.
  • Easy to grow, this plant is a welcomed addition to shady borders, containers, under trees or large shrubs, woodland gardens or naturalized areas. Plant in groups for best visual impact. 
  • Watch for snails and aphids or hellebore leaf spot.
  • Remove faded or damaged foliage as the flowers appear
  • Propagate by seed in pots in a cold frame as soon as seed is ripe.
  • Ingestion may cause severe discomfort; skin irritant.

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Requirements

Hardiness 5 – 9
Heat Zones 6 – 9
Climate Zones 2, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Helleborus - Hellebores
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid)
Winter
Height 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 18" (45cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers, Underplanting Roses and Shrubs
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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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.


Requirements

Hardiness 5 – 9
Heat Zones 6 – 9
Climate Zones 2, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Helleborus - Hellebores
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid)
Winter
Height 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 18" (45cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers, Underplanting Roses and Shrubs
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Helleborus - Hellebores

Guides with Helleborus - Hellebores

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