Helleborus x hybridus 'Red Sapphire'
Red Sapphire Hybrid Lenten Rose
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Item #: 4045
Zones: 4a to 8b
Height: 15" tall
The perfectly-formed, double, red-violet flowers of the O'Byrne hybrid lenten rose, Helleborus 'Red Sapphire', look more like a camellia than a hellebore. I never thought I'd find myself wishing for winter, but it's happening now just to see Helleborus x hybridus 'Red Sapphire' in flower.
Helleborus 'Red Sapphire' is a seed-grown, uniform selection of Helleborus x hybridus, all of which have identical growing conditions and maintenance needs.
As the flower stalks of Helleborus x hybridus arise just above the evergreen foliage in late winter, we prefer to remove the old foliage. This results in a much more attractive floral show, unobscured by the old leaves, which are likely tattered from the winter weather. Removing the foliage too early can allow the ground to warm around the plant, often speeding up the floral show.
While lenten rose flower stalks can freeze solid and return to form when the weather warms, they are limited in the number of times they can recover, so longer the ground stays cool around the plant, the better the floral show. Once hellebore flower stalks rise above the foliage and the flowers show color, the old leaves serve no purpose. Do not, however, remove all the foliage at any other time during the growing season since it will most likely kill your plant.
Helleborus x hybridus need well drained soils to survive. They can tolerate irrigated beds as long as the soil doesn't become waterlogged. Lenten roses are amazingly drought resistant, and while they may not look great during extended dry spells, they almost always survive. The perform well in both slightly acidic and slightly alkaline soils.
Most lenten roses are prolific re-seeders, and as such, can take over a significant section of garden if allowed to re-seed for too many consecutive years. Since they do not reproduce true to color from seed, you may wish to remove the seed before they mature, which is usually starts in late April/early May. In the garden, seedlings that are allowed to drop typically flower in 5-6 years.
Lenten roses have incredible garden value, primarily for their amazing winter floral show. We also find them incredibly valuable as winter evergreen groundcovers in woodland gardens which can often be quite drab in winter.
Lenten roses are extremely valuable for providing nectar for honeybees, who forage when daytime winter temperatures exceed 55 degrees F.
Nurseries who don't know the plants they sell, often list Helleborus x hybridus as Helleborus orientalis. That species only has dirty white flowers, and I'd be willing to bet that any nursery offering plants under that name (other than small hellebore specialist), is selling Helleborus x hybridus. Helleborus x hybridus plants primarily contain the genes of many species, including Helleborus virdis, purpurescens, atrorubens, croaticus, and orientalis.
Leaf Color: Green
Container Role: Fillers
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