The fabled Lenten Rose is rising in popularity as the spring flower. More than the Daffodil. And even more than the look-at-me-and-only-me Tulip. Also known as Helleborus, the Lenten Roses are the first symbol of spring. These tough beauties raise their heads even in the grip of late winter. The blooms bestow bright colors of the rainbow while the rest of the land is still colored in grays and browns. These joys of the perennial world can live past the ripe age of 50, and they get their name,The Lenten Rose, because it typically flowers during the Christian season of Lent.
Gardener interest with the Lenten Rose is at an all time high. The flower can withstand almost any environment, yet display blooms that capture the imagination. Breeders are taking notice, and they are creating Helleborus hybrids that are the stars of the flower universe. Breeder Hans Hansen, who has hybridized everything from Asiatic lilies to Hostas, took on the challenge of creating a new mix of Lenten Roses several years ago. In 2015, Hansen perfected his creation, and he just unleashed the Honeymoon Mix Lenten Rose to unsuspecting gardeners everywhere.
Simply put, the flower world will never be the same.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Honeymoon mix is just the breathtaking amount of colors. Hues of apricot, buttery yellow, carnation pink, wine red, and even elegant black adorn this arrangement. Best of all, these colors will jump out in the white of winter before any bulb or flowering tree. Once the Lenten Rose gets going, not even frost can chink away at its beauty.
The plants will grow out about 18” tall with a 12” spread. A tough happy Helleborus will reward you in the early spring with upwards of 40 blooms, which can last up to four months. Due to their woodland origins, they can even handle a good amount of shade. And when the colors begin to fade, the lush evergreen foliage (which has a likeness to mini palm leaves) creates a nice backdrop for summer blooming perennials.
The looks of the Honeymoon Mix are deceiving. With such delicate features, you would expect hours of pampering. Not with the Lenten Rose. Critters like rabbits and deer venture to more delectable patches. Slugs, that seem to dine on anything that grows, also stay away. The Helleborus can grow in soils of every range, from neutral to acidic. However, avoid wet clay if possible. If you want to do a small amount of legwork, add a nice organic compost each year at the beginning of the season for even better growth. And, if you’re feeling like spreading lots of love to your Lentens, give them an organic Seaweed spray every couple of weeks.
The Honeymoon Mix will develop deep spreading roots as the years pass. This keeps your Lentens vibrant and healthy, which is one of the reasons it begins its flowery display so early. You can divide the plants in late winter, but it is not necessary. But, if you’re feeling like being a total neighborhood showoff, you can easily containerize several divided plants for your deck, patio, or walkway.
Winter is rarely forgiving. Plants shrink away and hide for months on end. But, imagine when the ground is covered in snow, you see petals of every color slowly sprouting through. This is the Honeymoon Lenten Rose.
No flower does it better or earlier.