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Video: The Hellebore Christmas Rose: Benefits, Cultivation And Maintenance
While you are familiar with the characteristics of poinsettia, the Christmas star, another garden plant tends to become its unmistakable and mysterious rival: the Hellebore Christmas rose. Flowers are rare in winter, and when a beauty with magnificent petals appears in the run-up to such an important holiday as Christmas, your heart warms at the sight of it. Our editorial staff will unveil the mystery of a flower that bad weather "does not intimidate". To find out how to cultivate and care for this winter gem, read the lines below.
The Hellebore Christmas rose: what characteristics?
Spotted, veined, with simple and contrasting colors, ranging from pure white to mysterious black, the Hellebore Christmas rose is also known in red and pink shades. Even though it is called rose, the flower has no smell and no thorns. However, she doesn't look like rose hips either. The fact that the Hellebore Christmas rose blooms in winter and persists in the cold gives it a mysticism that has come down to us from the Middle Ages.
By planting the hellebore in front of the door of the house, people believed in its protective abilities against evil spirits. In addition, one must be vigilant with the Christmas rose because its beauty is poisonous and careless use can cause digestive and heart problems. In any case, fatal incidents were not excluded from yesteryear, which was due to the strong alkaloids contained in the plant. For this reason, be careful if you have small children and pets (cat or dog).
The red, white, pink Christmas rose with healing effects
When used properly and as prescribed by a specialist, the plant can prove to be an excellent cardiotonic aid. Among its other advantages, we can count the rapid effect of the glycosides that the Christmas rose contains. Note also that this beautiful flower exerts a diuretic, soothing and cleansing activity, stimulating peristalsis. In the list of traditional uses, we can list pleurisy, hemorrhoids, cough and disorders of the nervous system. As for external application, the plant is recommended against baldness.
If you boil 25 g of hellebore roots in 250 ml of water and 250 ml of vinegar, let the liquid evaporate halfway. Start a hair rubbing procedure half an hour before washing, twice a week, throughout a month.
Plant a Christmas rose indoors
Although durable and easy to grow, this plant from southern Europe and Asia requires certain measures for its flourishing. In order for the rose hellebore to receive sunlight in winter, it must be installed in partial shade. The Christmas rose in a pot or in the garden does well in deep, fertile, well-drained but moist soil with neutral or slightly alkaline characteristics. In any case, you can generously enrich with peat moss or leaf mold before planting. Composting in an apartment is not an impossible task. As the root system is quite deep, the roots should be planted downwards, rather than spreading out below the soil surface. As for the crown of the plant (the point where the stem and the roots cross) it should be 3 cm below the surface of the soil. For this and other reasons, the flower should be planted in a larger pot.
If you have chosen to plant outdoors, please apply a layer of mulch around the plant. Each spring, remove old tattered foliage and feed the plants a balanced water soluble fertilizer with an NPK / 10-10-10 / ratio.
Growing Christmas roses from seeds
If you are planting from seed, you will need to wait three or four years for your hellebore to reach flowering size. As for the seeds, they should be fresh as germination is much slower with dried seeds. These can be sown in pots in early fall and kept outdoors at least until Christmas, as they need a cold treatment to germinate. The pots can be brought back inside at this time and the seeds will sprout immediately. If left outside, they will germinate at the end of winter. It is best to start them directly in the ground in an open, protected bed or a cold frame outside, as a freezing period (3-6 weeks) is required for germination. Seedlings should be transplanted to their permanent site when they are approximately 5 cm in height. Christmas roses take a while to establish, after which they should not be disturbed.
Two species of hellebores are very common: the white flowering Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) which blooms in December in warmer climates and the purple Lenten rose (H. orientalis) which usually blooms in late February-early March.
The Christmas rose: maintenance
Two years after planting either in a pot or outdoors, the hellebore does not require special care. Well installed, watch for the appearance of buds and then remove the altered or wilted leaves to leave room for new ones.
We wrote above about watering and the type of fertilizer. Aristocrats of the woodland gardens of Europe, hellebores most appreciate a shaded or semi-shaded location - at the entrance to your home, near your back porch, or in the shade of tall shrubs or trees. Often associated with ferns, plants also work well as a ground cover.
Why do we call the hellebore the Christmas rose?
According to legend, a young shepherdess with the name Madelon tended her sheep on a cold, wintery night. A group of wise men and shepherds walked by, carrying gifts for the newborn Jesus. Madelon was saddened, because she had nothing to give the baby, not even a simple flower. Then an angel, hearing her cry, appeared and swept the snow around. A beautiful white flower emerged from it: the Christmas rose.