Double your Christmas Fun

Looking great for the last couple of weeks in the garden are the double forms of the Christmas rose, one of the first hellebores to bloom in the garden. This clump of Helleborus niger ‘Snowbells’ is looking particularly nice. Hardiness zone 3a to 7b.

Helleborus niger ‘Snowbells’

7 thoughts on “Double your Christmas Fun”

  1. I used to live in Zone 4 (upstate NY) prior to moving to NC in 1982. I grew up there, went to Hort school there, and worked in garden centers there. Never, ever in my life did I encounter a Hellebore until I moved to NC.
    Yet my eyes popped reading this post that says they are hardy to Zone 3a? Is that a mistake possibly?? If correct, is this cold hardiness a new phenomenon amongst Hellebores? Or just germain to this particular Hellebore? (Never saw Nigers, oriental hybrids, or any of the other types of Hellebores.) Very curious to see your reply! Thanks!

  2. Really? I’m simply amazed. I just checked elsewhere online and see they can withstand really cold temperatures. (-20F?) Depending on varieties. But can I ask again, by any chance is this a relatively recent phenomenon, that they are being grown so far north? Like since the ’80s? I can’t imagine why I never encountered them all the time I lived in NY.

    Thanks again.


    1. Hellebores have been grown in cold climates for well over 60 years that we personally know about. The famous Wyman’s Garden Encyclopedia of the 1970s listed H. niger as Zone 3. Major mail order catalogs started adding hardiness zones to their plant offerings in the mid to late 1970s. Wayside Garden listed Helleborus for Zone 3 and 4 at that time, although they were listed as H. atrorubens and H. orientalis at that time. What has changed is the more widespread information about what grows where, thanks to the Internet along with better availabilty of Helleborus x hybridus since the mid 1990s.

      1. Thanks so much for this! Explains a lot. No end to the learning when it comes to plants. Such a wealth of information at Plant
        Delights. 🙂 Truly appreciate having such a knowledgeable, reliable source of information. On a side note, I emailed the owners of the nursery I worked at in Albany area (NY). Asked them if they have Hellebores and if we ever sold them. I worked there in the early 80’s. Will be interesting to hear what they say. Thanks again! :-))))

  3. In southeast WI, most hellebores are hardy. -28° in the past. A few H. niger varieties begin sending up buds in late November…even beginning to open a few blooms in December. Later, they’re covered with snow and bide their time to resume blooming in late March.

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