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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Have you ever divided a Hellebore?

Last year was the first that I had Hellebore seedlings bloom. It was so exciting to see their different faces. The bees had done the pollinating for me, I did not hybridize these.

As you can see here, they were a nice size last year. This year I expect to have them double in size as they were planted in a nice rich soil.

One Hellebore that I bought about 5 years ago has grown to enormous proportions. I've never read or seen anything that talks about dividing a Hellebore. The plants that are available for sale in pots are quite large and robust so I would guess that they do pot up well. I wonder if those are seedlings that are potted up or if they were divisions from larger plants.

Many years ago a garden friend gave me two plants of Hellebore foetidus. She warned me that they would sulk when planted in my garden. True to her advice, they never became robust but as they went to seed, their seedlings took over and became large healthy plants. I have moved very young seedlings and noticed that they don't mind this at all. But as for actually cutting into a large clump, well that's something I'd like more information on before actually trying.



blossom said...

Hellebore has started to be one of my favorites - of course I have so many faves. They are pretty.

Cinj said...

I have never tried it either, but they are so pretty I'd be tempted to try to get a few extra. I always think it's best to look to the expertise of others before blundering into a giant Oops type situation.

flowrgirl1 said...

Dividing them during bloom time is fine according to an expert i saw. He just dug them up and used a saw to cut them into chunks. Hellebores are very forgiving.

Nicol said...

I had a beautiful Hellebore plant at my last house. One thing that I dug up this past fall and temporarly planted in my mother's yard. It was part of my contract to take some of my plants. I'm hoping that it made it through the winter and will move to it's new home here soon.

Normally I would have left the plants, but the new owners said they didn't want any plants and were going to rip them out. I rather transfer them and hope they live then let them die in someone else's hands.

It would be good to know if you can divide them.

Sheila said...

I have never had any hellebores that were prolific enough to warrant dividing! For some reason they just don't seem to reseed here like they do in other climates. Good luck!

GardenJoy4Me said...

Melanie .. I must have more Hellebor !! I have one only and I am longing for more .. so I have to get on the ball and hunt some down : )

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Interesting question. I was wondering the same thing yesterday as I cut back my Hellebores. I've been reluctant to even transplant them, but this year might be a good time to experiment with dividing & transplanting.

garden girl said...

Hi Melanie, I only have one, new last year (with more on the way this year,:) and was wondering that myself.

I googled it and found the answer seems to be they aren't hard to divide. GardenWeb has this:

"Dan Hinkley of Heronswood Nursery grows hellebores from seed, but because you can never be certain what you’ll end up with, he also divides the roots for propagation. Divide hellebores in late winter or early spring when they’re in bloom. Begin by cutting off the flowers with a garden pruner. Dig the plant out of the ground, and use a knife to cut the root ball into two, and then into four; be sure to always include part of the center root. Plant the divisions in the garden immediately unless the roots are very small. If that’s the case, plant the hellebore in a pot for one year, so it can re-establish its roots.
Dan Hinkley
Heronswood Nursery Ltd."

Gail said...

Good question and great advice! gail

Anonymous said...

I haven't planted Helebore yet but I want to. I will remember this advice. Your garden is always beautiful.

María José said...

Hi, Melani!!
Beutiful heleboros!!.
I tried them last year after reading one of your posts about growing them and , just now, I have three flowers as yours and it is marvellous to see them growing every day.
I have to confess that when I watch them I always remember you.
In this post I took a lot advise about them!
Thanks a lot!!
Lots of kisses

Melanie said...

Wow, lots of great advice from all of you!

I've been scouring the web looking for more about dividing Hellebores. The thought of digging them while in bloom and cutting off those blooms is just horrible. Graham Rice has some excellent advice at

I much prefer the thought of doing this division in the fall although I also noticed his statement that "some" of the divisions might bloom the next spring. I guess that means that you have to have patience with Hellebores.

Janice said...

Hellebore has definately become a favorite of mine as well. Although I only have two plants at the moment. Very nice pictures!

PamK said...

Hi there.I am from NY and have actually divided a hellebore without even knowing what it was. I plan to move mine this year as soon as the last blooms are gone. Good luck to you. I only hope mine will become as beautiful as yours are! PK.